News portal ‘LiveLaw’ has been caught twisting news from the Kerala High Court to help Kerala’s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the CPI(M).
A complaint was filed before the Registrar General of Kerala High Court alleging that LiveLaw indulged in misreporting that amounted to contempt of court.
After the filing of the complaint was reported in the media, LiveLaw modified its news report that misrepresented what transpired in the High Court.
However, the LiveLaw report continues to mislead.
It was Kerala BJP leader Prasanth Sivan and an advocate Syamkumar P.H who pointed out in their complaint that LiveLaw misreported what transpired in the bail application filed by Swapna Suresh.
In her bail application before the High Court, Swapna Suresh had made serious allegations against the Chief Minister, his wife and his daughter about involvement in gold smuggling. It was also alleged that the investments of the Chief Minister and the CPI(M) state secretary abroad are being handled by one Shaji Kiran, who had visited Swapna Suresh on behalf of the Chief Minister to pressure her to withdraw her allegations against the Chief Minister.
The High Court had closed the bail application after recording the assurance of the government that the offences are bailable offences.
But LiveLaw reported the event with the headline “BREAKING| Kerala High Court Dismisses Pre-Arrest Bail Plea Moved By Swapna Suresh, Sarith For Raising Allegations Against CM”.
The complainants pointed out that “the reason mentioned in the headline, that the case was dismissed “for raising allegations against CM” is totally false” and that the application was not dismissed but closed.
The complaint stated that “LiveLaw is being used by vested interest groups to build fake narratives about the judicial proceedings” for “for political reasons”. It also said that “If you look at who owns and runs the website Live Law, the malafide reason for such deliberate misreporting will become clear”.
Now LiveLaw has added a postscript to the article that says, “[Corrigendum: When this story was first published it was incorrectly reported that the application for anticipatory bail filed by Swapna Suresh And Another was dismissed. But from the Order, it is clear that the bail application was not dismissed but it was closed. We regret the inadvertent error that occurred in this news report].”
The “corrigendum” of LiveLaw is again false and misleading. The complaint was not primarily about the case being “closed” as opposed to being “dismissed” as reported. It was primarily about the headline falsely stating that the case was dismissed “For Raising Allegations Against CM”.
LiveLaw has now deleted the word “For” from the headline. However, the “Corrigendum” does not mention that correction, thereby making it appear that the complaint against it was only about the case being closed and not dismissed.
In August 2020, a Supreme Court Judge, Justice Arun Mishra, had said that LiveLaw reporting is “one-sided” and “incorrect”.