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SC Orders Govt To Allow Kerala Journalist’s Lawyer To Meet Him

Syed Sujeel Ahmed | India Tomorrow

Bengaluru – The Supreme Court (SC) of India, while hearing Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan’s case on Friday, on submission of the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that “the Advocate can meet the accused in the jail where he is lodged to take instructions and signature on the vakalatnama,” passed an order to allow Siddique Kappan’s lawyer to meet him. Siddique’s case is being fought by the Kerala Union of Working Journalist (KUWJ) and represented by senior lawyer Kapil Sibbal, advocates Wills Mathew and Shree Pal Singh. Advocate Wills had earlier tried to contact Siddique, but he was refused by the New Temporary Mathura jail authorities.

Speaking to India Tomorrow last week, Wills had told, “On October 16 I went to New Temporary Mathura jail, but no official was willing to disclose if Siddique was imprisoned there, I was not allowed to meet him. I had also made an attempt to meet him through e-mulakat, but there was no response.” Later in the day, Wills had approached City Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Mathura seeking permission to meet Siddique which was turned down by the CJM.

Solicitor Tushar claimed that he had filed a counter affidavit in the SC, to which the SC refuted and observed, “We find there is no such affidavit on record.” Senior counsel Kapil Sibbal representing Siddique too denied the claim and informed the court that he had not received any copy of the affidavit from the respondent. The case was being heard through video conference.

Advocate Wills in his affidavit had also pointed out deplorable condition of the New Temporary Mathura jail to the court. He said that he had heard loud cries of people lodged in the jail and they were found without masks. “The accused were found to be transported to the CJM like 17th or 18th century slaves,” Wills obserevred.

Siddique was taken into custody while on his way to Hathras district in Uttar Pradesh on October 5 to cover Hathras rape and murder, since then he had been denied any legal aid. The KUWJ had approached the SC seeking fulfilment of basic rights to the journalist. Siddique is secretary of the north India chapter of the KUWJ.

The case is being heard by a bench of justices A.S.Boppanna and V. Ramasubramanian.

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