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Wikipedia model not fully dependable, cautions SC

Tuesday, the Supreme Court advised courts and adjudicating bodies against depending on Wikipedia for dispute settlement, stating that it follows a “user-generated editing model that is not entirely reliable in terms of academic validity and might even promote false material…”

This was said by a bench of Justices Surya Kant and Vikram Nath in a decision regarding the correct categorization of an imported “AllinOne Integrated Desktop Computer” under the First Schedule of the Central Excise Tariff Act of 1985.

The court observed that the adjudicating agencies, particularly the Commissioner of Customs (Appeal), relied heavily on online sources like Wikipedia to support their divergent judgements.

In writing for the bench, Justice Surya Kant sounded a caution, stating, “While we expressly recognise the utility of these platforms that allow open access to knowledge around the world, we must also sound a note of caution against using such sources for legal dispute resolution. We say this because, despite being a rich trove of knowledge, these sites are based on a crowdsourced and user-generated editing paradigm that is not totally reliable in terms of academic integrity and might promote false material, as this court has remarked on past occasions.”

The decision said that “courts and deciding bodies should rather try to convince the lawyers to rely on more reliable and accurate sources.”

The ruling cited a 2008 highest court decision in the Commissioner of Customs, Bangalore v. Acer India (P) Ltd case, in which a two-judge bench stated that Wikipedia “is an online encyclopaedia in which anyone can enter content and as such may not be valid.”



Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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