[Hathras Rape Case] Kerala Journalist Siddique Kappan Granted Interim Bail by Supreme Court

The Hathras rape case sent shockwaves across the country. Numerous activists and journalists who went to report and investigate the said incident were arrested on grounds of criminal conspiracy by the Uttar Pradesh police. One such journalist is Siddique Kappan who is represented by the Kerala Union of Working journalists, whose arrest has been cited as ‘arbitrary and illegal.’

Arrest of Journalist Siddique Kappan

Siddique Kappan is a journalist from Kerala. He was arrested on October 5th 2020 by the Uttar Pradesh Police force. He had travelled to UP for reporting on the Hathras rape incident, however, he got arrested for criminal conspiracy on grounds of trying to incite violence. Kappan has been in police custody since. The bail application in the said case was to go visit his ailing mother.

Arguments

The advocate representing Kappan, Kapil Sibal stated that

“Now doctors are saying that one or two days are left. Hospital has given up. Please give five days to visit. Any conditions may be imposed.”

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Sibal while emphasising on the health condition of Kapapn’s mother stated that

“Doctors are saying that one or two days are left”

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, however, stated

“He is associated with PFI which is banned and is being banned in many places. They were trying to incite communal violence…What is happening in Kerala? There are big posters put up as if he is a freedom fighter. is wife is collecting money for him. He has nothing to do with journalism. He was associated with a paper already shut down…”

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showing reluctance to grant him bail.

Court’s Observations

The bench headed by Chief Justice S.A Bobde stated that

“It is submitted that the mother is said to be in a critical situation and that she is likely not to survive for many days. In these circumstances, we consider it appropriate to permit Kappan to visit his mother and return to prison at the end of the 5th day.”

The Bench took into consideration the fact that Bangalore blasts accused Abdul Nazar Maudany, was granted bail to see his mother.  The Court further added

“We permit Kappan to go to Kerala only for the purpose of seeing his mother. During the visit, he shall not give any interview to any media, including social media.”

Journalist Siddique Kappan’s Bail Conditions

The bail granted however was not absolute. The bail conditions that were imposed by the Court include:

  • No public visits are allowed. Only visits to doctor and family.
  • Will be accompanied by police officers from UP, Kerala police would have to cooperate.

It will be the responsibility of UP police to ensure the travel between the detenu’s and his mother’s house.


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