The Registrar General of the Kerala High Court has received multiple complaints alleging that the legal news service LiveLaw is distorting the High Court’s proceedings.
Kerala BJP leader Prasanth Sivan and Advocate Syamkumar P.H have lodged separate complaints alleging that the misreporting by LiveLaw amounted to contempt of court.
The complaints have argued that LiveLaw published a misleading headline for a report on the bail application of Swapna Suresh ’closed’ by the Kerala High Court, which they asserted amounted to contempt of court.
The matter pertains to the high-profile case of Swapna Suresh, the prime accused in the Kerala Gold smuggling case of 2020. On Thursday this week, the Kerala HC closed the bail application of Suresh and Sarith, accused in the Kerala Gold Smuggling case involving smuggling gold from the UAE through diplomatic baggage.
Suresh had approached the court after an FIR was lodged against her on the allegation of Kerala MLA and Ex-Minister K. T. Jaleel, who accused her of spreading rumours and attempting to stir riots over her remarks indicting Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his family, as well as Jaleel.
According to the complaint, the bail application was not denied, but rather closed. “More importantly, the reason mentioned in the headline, that the case was dismissed ‘for raising allegations against CM’ is totally false.”
Suresh also levelled serious allegations against the chief minister in her bail application. Suresh said in her bail plea that someone from the Chief Minister’s office came to her office to pressurise her to withdraw her statement. Shaji Kiran, the person who visited her, is close to Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, the state secretary of CPIM, and is one of the Directors of Gospel for Asia, an organisation founded by K.P Yohannan, according to the application. Furthermore, the application stated that Kiran is the person “in charge of the Chief Minister’s and Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s overseas investments.”
It further pointed out that the alleged explanation cited in the headline is not mentioned in the body of the LiveLaw report. “Moreover, the report makes no reference to any oral statement made by the Hon’ble Judge that may lend credence to the headline.” In any case, the Judge made no such remark during the hearing,” according to the complaint.
This isn’t the first time LiveLaw has been accused of lying about legal procedures. Justice Arun Mishra had previously condemned the “lopsided” and “incorrect” reporting by LiveLaw and Bar and Bench, as well as chastising ‘PIL Activist’ Prashant Bhushan for taking matters of the Court to the media and making inappropriate tweets on social media, while speaking from the Supreme Court Bench.