The Supreme Court has asked Siddique Kappan – the Kerala journalist arrested last week under anti-terror law on his way to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh – to first appeal in the Allahabad High Court for bail. The SC told Kappan’s lawyer Kapil Sibal to come back if they fail to get relief in the HC.
A three-member bench of the top court, led by Supreme Court Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, said it would keep the case pending and adjourned the hearing for four weeks, within which time Kappan can apply to the High Court.
“Go to Allahabad High Court,” the Chief Justice said, to which senior advocate Sibal, appearing for the Kerala Union of Journalists – which had filed the plea seeking the release of journalist Kappan, replied: “UAPA has been invoked. Bail will never be granted. He will be in jail for several months.”
Supreme Court bench headed by CJI SA Bobde to hear on Monday Habeas Corpus plea by Kerala Union of Working Journalists seeking release of journalist Siddique Kappan who has been detained by UP police while he was on his way to Hathras
Kappan has been charged for sedition, UAPA pic.twitter.com/iGB8TdjZql
— Murali Krishnan (@legaljournalist) October 9, 2020
Chief Justice Bobde responded: “It won’t take so long. Go to the correct court. If it does not happen there, then come here. We are simply adjourning for four weeks.”
Kappan was travelling to Hathras to meet the family of the Dalit girl, who was allegedly gangraped and later died.
The Kerala Union of Journalists’ petition termed Kappan’s detention as “illegal”. Specifically, the petition said the arrest was a deliberate attempt to prevent him from discharging his duty as a journalist.
The petition also said the arrest violated guidelines laid down by the top court.
The UP police gave a statement saying they received information that some “suspicious people” were on their way to Hathras from Delhi. Following the tip-off, the men – Kappan, Atiq-ur Rehman, Masood Ahmed and Alam – were stopped in Mathura and later arrested.
The UP police have been criticised for their handling of the Hathras case, with the victim’s family accusing the cops of reacting slow to their complaint. The cops were also criticized for hurried and midnight cremation of the girl in the absence of her parents and relatives.
The UP government came under fire for blocking the media and political leaders like Rahul Gandhi from entering Hathras for a few days.