The Allahabad High Court has directed the NIA court in Lucknow to hear the discharge application filed by Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, arrested under the stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, afresh and pass orders on the same.
The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Shree Prakash Singh quashed the charges framed by the Trial Court on December 19 last year against Kappan under the UAPA and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on the grounds that the trial court did not hear Kappan’s discharge application and also because the charges suffered from some illegalities and ambiguities.
It further noted that the NIA court did not grant any opportunity to the petitioner’s Counsel for hearing.
Stressing upon the necessity of a trial court to ascertain whether a case was made out or not against an accused at the stage of framing of charges, the Court observed that it was also not incumbent upon the accused to have moved an application for discharge.
It added that even when there was no discharge application, it was incumbent on the trial court to decide whether there was sufficient material available against the accused so as to frame charges, but opportunity of hearing to the accused at this stage was an essential condition.
The Single-Judge Bench then directed the concerned parties, including the Counsel for Kappan, to appear before the Trial Court.
(Case title: Sidhique Kappan vs State of UP)