Siddique Kappan bail plea: Supreme Court issues notice to UP governmenttext_fields
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government on the bail plea by Kerala journalist Sidhique Kappan who has been in jail since October 5, 2020, under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Kappan and his companions were on their way to Hathras when UP police arrested them saying their goal was to disrupt peace and harmony. The police also alleged that the Islamic organisation Popular Front of India (PFI) paid Rs 45,000 to his account.
The journalist has said that he was going to Hathras to cover the rape and murder of a Dalit girl.
On Monday, Kappan's lawyer Kapil Sibal argued before a bench headed by CJI UU Lalit that there is no evidence for PFI paying him. He added that PFI is neither a terrorist organisation nor a banned organisation. "Kappan has worked with a newspaper associated with PFI in the past but does not work with it anymore."
The Uttar Pradesh government opposed the bail plea and stated that Kappan is also an accused in the Delhi riots case. Adv. Sibal opposed this allegation and said his client is not an accused in the Delhi riot case.
The bench comprising Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and CJI Lalit asked the UP personnel to file objections in the matter and issued the notice. The final disposal of the matter is scheduled for next week.
Kappan said before the Supreme Court that he is a journalist with 12 years of experience and has served as the secretary of the Delhi chapter of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists. He has spent almost two years in jail on the basis of "trumped-up charges". He added that he is incarcerated for seeking to do his duty of reporting the infamous Hathras rape/murder case.
He noted that his bail plea was rejected by the Allahabad High Court earlier this month. Sibal noted that the bail petition raises seminal questions pertaining to the right to liberty as well as the freedom of expression and speech.
Adv. Sibal further stated that his client is an individual with clean antecedents and has never fallen foul of the law. He is currently employed in the Azhimukham newspaper and the sole breadwinner of his family.