India Tomorrow Web Desk
NEW DELHI—The Supreme Court on Wednesday adjourned the hearing in journalist Siddique Kappan’s case until the next week, after the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) sought to implead the journalist’s wife and daughter.
During the hearing, Chief Justice of India (CJI) asked the KUWJ to move the Allahabad High Court but senior counsel Kapil Sibal representing the KUWJ submitted that the apex court had granted bail to Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami while his bail petition was pending before a lower court.
“Every case is different,” CJI Bobde responded. Siddique Kappan is underdetention of the UP police and lodged in Mathura Central Jail.
Representing UP government, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought adjournment for filing a rejoinder affidavit, saying that investigations into Kappan’s case has revealed “shocking”details.
But Sibal opposed the prayer for adjournment saying the case involves question of liberty. He submitted that all allegations in the FIR were fictitious and the matter deserved urgent hearing by the top court as it involved “grave violations”.
The Bench, which also comprised Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, however, rejected Sibal’s request and adjourned the matter. It will now be heard next week.
Kappan, a Delhi-based journalist, reporting for Malayalam news portal ‘Azhimukham’ and also the secretary of the KUWJ’s Delhi unit, was arrested along with three others in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, on October 5 while on his way to Hathras to cover the gangrape and murder case of the 19-year-old Dalit girl.
They were later booked under provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and also slapped with charges of sedition.
KUWJ, in a rejoinder affidavit, had told the Supreme Court that Siddique Kappan “was beaten with lathi and slapped” in Mathura jail.
It was also claimed by KUWJ that Kappan was denied sleep and medicines on October 5 and October 6 though he is a diabetic and on medication. Kappan was beaten up, he was dragged by the jail authorities and also subject to “mental torture,” the affidavit added.
The Uttar Pradesh government had earlier told the Supreme Court that Kappan was the office secretary of Popular Front of India (PFI), and that he was travelling to Hathras with other members of the PFI with the aim of creating a “caste divide and law and order issues.”
The Uttar Pradesh government had also asserted that Kappan had misled the Special Task Force when he was brought to Delhi.
“He did not assist in the investigation and gave misleading details. His flat mate who is also a member of PFI and its various wings denied access. Finally, armed with search warrants, when the premises were searched by the police, further incriminating material has been recovered all of which is the subject matter of investigation,” the Uttar Pradesh government’s affidavit said.
The State government had also stated that Kappan was arrested with four others on October 5 and the bail applications filed by the journalist and three others were rejected by a competent court with detailed reasons.