SC grants bail to Journalist Siddique Kappan after nearly two years in jailtext_fields
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to journalist Siddique Kappan, who has been in jail since 2020 when he was arrested on his way to Uttar Pradesh's Hathras to report on a 19-year-old's gang rape.
The bail was granted by a bench headed by Chief Justice U.U Lalit who observed that "Every person has freedom of expression."
The court said that he can stay in Delhi for six weeks and after that, he can return to Kerala. He has also been advised to report to the local police station after reaching Kerala.
In court today, the Uttar Pradesh government argued that Kappan was paid to incite riots and that he is not an accredited journalist. "He was trying to create a riot situation and use explosives. He belongs to the PFI and this is a terrorist organization," said Mahesh Jethmalani, lawyer for UP.
The Supreme Court questioned the evidence against Kappan. "What was found with Kappan? No explosives were found, material was not found with him but in the car and they weren't used for propagating," Justice Lalit said.
The UP government had requested that bail is granted only after the investigation is completed which the top court has now rejected.
The UP government had earlier told the top court that Kappan had deep links with the PFI and was part of a larger conspiracy to "incite religious discord and spread terror".
Kappan has "deep links" with terror funding/ planning organizations like PFI and its student wing, Campus Front of India (CFI). These organizations have allegedly been found to have connections with Al Qaeda-linked organizations like IHH in Turkey, the Uttar Pradesh government has said in its affidavit.
Kappan approached the top court against the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on August 2 that had rejected his bail application saying "the use of tainted money cannot be ruled out".
Earlier, the top court sought the Uttar Pradesh government's response to Kappan's bail plea.
Filing its response, the government further stated that Kappan was actually part of the PFI/CFI delegation to meet the family of the Hathras victim and foment discord and spread terror.