Supreme Court Initiates Contempt Proceedings Against Assam MLA for Misleading Facebook Post

Supreme Court begins contempt proceedings against Assam MLA for misleading Facebook post on pending election case, highlighting concerns over social media misuse.

The Supreme Court recently voiced its deep concern regarding the misuse of social media platforms, where inaccurate and baseless statements are being circulated regarding ongoing legal cases. Specifically, the Court noted a Facebook post made by an individual whose case was pending judgment and initiated contempt proceedings against them for spreading misleading information about the court.

The bench comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela Trivedi took action against Assam MLA Karim Uddin Barbhuiya for a Facebook post he published on March 20, falsely claiming that the Court had ruled in his favor when, in reality, the matter was still awaiting judgment. The Court expressed dismay at the growing trend of exploiting social media platforms under the guise of freedom of expression to undermine the Court's integrity and mislead the public.

In the words of the Court, "It is a matter of serious concern that nowadays there has been a profuse misuse of social media platforms on which the messages, comments, articles etc. are being posted in respect of the matters pending in the Court... deserves serious consideration."

Senior Advocate Mr. Jaideep Gupta, representing the petitioner in the contempt case, argued that the Facebook post interfered with the integrity of judicial proceedings and the administration of justice, warranting the Court's intervention. The contemnor was represented by Senior Advocate Dr. Menaka Guruswamy. The contentious post purportedly stated, "The Hon'ble Supreme Court has ruled in his favor... allegations brought against him... have fallen flat."

The case stemmed from an election petition challenging the 2021 Assembly election of AIUDF leader and Assam MLA Karim Uddin Barbhuiya. The petitioner, Aminul Haque Laskar, alleged corrupt practices in Barbhuiya's nomination process. After the Gauhati High Court rejected Barbhuiya's application to dismiss the election petition, he appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Court emphasized the unacceptable nature of distorting judicial proceedings and judges' remarks. Such distortions undermine confidence in the judiciary and prejudice the parties involved. The Court stated, "The matter is required to be taken up more seriously when any such attempt is sought to be made by the party to the proceedings to cause prejudice to the proceedings or interfere with the course of administration of justice."

In response, the Court issued a notice to the contemnor and ordered him to be physically present at the next hearing. Additionally, a copy of the order was directed to be sent to the Attorney General of India. The case is scheduled to be heard again after four weeks.

It's noteworthy that on April 8, the Court had ruled on the pending election petition, dismissing the allegations against Barbhuiya as vague and lacking material facts. This ruling demonstrates the importance of maintaining integrity and accuracy in legal proceedings, both inside and outside the courtroom.