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Complaints against LiveLaw for misreporting HC proceedings in Kerala Gold Smuggling Case; prime accused had named CM Vijayan in the case

The complaints are with respect to a LiveLaw report with the headline: "Kerala High Court Dismisses Pre-Arrest Bail Plea Moved By Swapna Suresh, Sarith For Raising Allegations Against CM” (emphasis added). The complainants have alleged that the reason cited in the headline for the alleged dismissal is totally false, misleading and therefore amounts to criminal contempt of court.

Multiple complaints have been registered with the Registrar General of the Kerala High Court against the legal news portal LiveLaw for misrepresenting the proceedings of the High Court.

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 that involved the smuggling of gold from the UAE through diplomatic baggage.

Suresh had moved the court after an FIR was filed against her, on the complaint of Kerala MLA and Ex-Minister K. T. Jaleel, who accused her of spreading rumours and attempting to incite people to riot over her statement indicting Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and his family and Jaleel.

Suresh had levelled serious allegations against the chief minister in her bail application as well. In her bail application, Suresh said a person came to her office on behalf of the Chief Minister to pressurise her to withdraw her statement. The application further said that 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 of K.P Yohannan. Furthermore, the application said Kiran is the person “who is handling the investment of the Chief Minister as well as Kodiyeri Balakrishnan abroad”.

The Kerala High Court ‘closed’ the bail application after the public prosecutor argued that Sarith is not an accused in the case and all the offences are bailable offences. “Recording the above submission, the anticipatory bail application is closed”, the High Court’s order said.

Complaints are filed against LiveLaw for misreporting closure of bail application of Swapna Suresh by Kerala HC

However, the legal news portal LiveLaw reported the said order and the proceedings with a headline: “BREAKING| Kerala High Court Dismisses Pre-Arrest Bail Plea Moved By Swapna Suresh, Sarith For Raising Allegations Against CM” (emphasis added).

The complaints filed against LiveLaw say the reason cited in the headline for the alleged dismissal is totally false, misleading and therefore amounts to criminal contempt of court.

The complaints say the bail application was not dismissed but closed. “More importantly, the reason mentioned in the headline, that the case was dismissed ‘for raising allegations against CM’ is totally false”, a copy of the complaint accessed by OpIndia says.

It further pointed out that the body of the report published by LiveLaw does not mention the alleged reason cited in the headline. “Moreover, the report does not quote any oral remark by the Hon’ble Judge that may give even a semblance of credibility to the headline. In any case, there was no such remark by the Judge during the hearing,” the complaint said.

The complainants have accused LiveLaw of deliberately framing the false headline with a malafide intention to mislead what transpired in the Court of Justice Viju Abraham. “Live Law has published the fake news to mislead the public about the proceedings of the Hon’ble High Court, to help a particular political party and its leaders. Such deliberate misreporting amounts to interference with the administration of justice and criminal contempt of the Hon’ble Court,” says the complaint.

Contending that LiveLaw is being used to build and propagate fake narratives about the judicial proceedings and demanding action against them, the complaint says, “If you look at who owns and runs the website Live Law, the malafide reason for such deliberate misreporting will become clear.”

This is not the first time that LiveLaw is being accused of misrepresenting judicial proceedings. Earlier, Justice Arun Mishra, while speaking from the Bench of the Supreme Court, had castigated the “lopsided” and “incorrect” reporting by LiveLaw and Bar and Bench while chastising ‘PIL Activist’ Prashant Bhushan for taking matters of the Court to the media and making improper tweets on social media.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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