“And the Quality of good judgement is clearly a form of knowledge and skill, as it is because of knowledge and not because of ignorance that we judge well.”- Plato
The Supreme Court on Tuesday while delivering a judgement in the case of Hewlett Packard India Sales Pvt. Ltd. v. Commissioner of Customs (Import), warned Courts and Adjudicating Authorities against the use of platforms like Wikipedia, while coming to conclusions of legal disputes as they are not totally reliable sources. They are based on a user-generated editing model thus, the quality of information can be questioned.
Division Bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Vikram Kant, observed that “While we expressly acknowledge the utility of these platforms which provide free access to knowledge across the globe, but we must also sound a note of caution against using such sources for legal dispute resolution. We say so for the reason that these sources, despite being a treasure trove of knowledge, are based on a crowd-sourced and user generated editing model that is not completely dependable in terms of academic veracity and can promote misleading information as has been noted by this court on previous occasions also.”
In the following case, The Supreme Court of India noted that the Commissioner of Customs (Appeal), in their orders, have extensively referred to online sources such as Wikipedia to support their conclusion.