New Delhi (ILNS): Today, while hearing the habeas corpus petition seeking the release of Kerala journalist Sidhique Kappan from the alleged illegal detention of Uttar Pradesh Police, the Supreme Court bench of Justices SA Bobde, AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said: “There was an unfair reporting about this matter when it was adjourned on the previous occasion.”
The bench also said that it was “not a preventive detention matter”.
Kappan was arrested while he was on his way to report the Hathras incident and to meet the victim’s family.
The petition has been brought to court by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists. In its plea the Union has contended that the detention of Kappan is violative of the Fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Indian constitution.
The petitioners have alleged that the detention was also in violation of the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in DK Basu Vs State of West Bengal and various other judgements of the Court.
It has been further submitted that the arrest was made with a view to obstruct the discharge of duty of Kappan in his capacity as a journalist.
The petitioners have further submitted that neither the family members nor the colleagues of Kappan were informed about his arrest or the place of detention.
Today, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the state of UP, stated that the petitioners should approach the high court.
The CJI said:
“There was an unfair reporting about this matter when it was adjourned on the previous occasion.”
The SG claimed that it was wrong reporting.
The bench informed that the court has not yet seen the reply which has been filed by the state of Uttar Pradesh and further asked the Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal to go through the reply and file his response.
The court in its order stated that the matter is not a preventive detention matter and it would be better if Sibal reads the reply and then the matter is heard at length.
SG Mehta argued that there is no objection to an advocate approaching the accused for signature in Vakalatnama wherever the accused is.
The Uttar Pradesh government has submitted in its affidavit that Kappan, who is the office secretary of PFI, was using a journalist’s cover by showing identity card of a Kerela based newspaper named as ‘Tejas’ which was closed in 2018. As per the state government, investigations revealed that Kappan along with other PFI activists and their student wing (Campus Front of India) leaders were going to Hathras under the garb of journalism with a very determined design to create a caste divide and disturb law and order situation.
On October 16, the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) of Mathura, Anju Rajput, had dismissed an application filed by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) to meet Malayalam journalist Siddique Kappan, currently lodged in a Mathura jail.
The matter would now be heard next week.