Saturday, December 9, 2023

Hathras case: Journalist Siddique Kappan moves Supreme Court for bail

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Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, who was booked by the Uttar Pradesh government under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) has approached the Supreme Court for bail.

The journalist mentioned his plea before Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, who listed the matter on Friday.

Kappan challenged the Allahabad High Court order which had rejected his bail on August 2. Kappan contended that the High Court has overlooked the principles on grant of bail, and dismissed his bail without any cogent reason.

The plea, drawn by advocate Haris Beeran and filed through advocate Pallavi Pratap, said, “The High Court, while passing the order, has failed to discharge its bounden duty of examining the entire material on record to decide whether or not a prima facie case has been made out.”

The plea submits that the High Court did not take note that the chargesheet does not make out a case for the invocation of Section 17 and Section 18 of the UAPA.

Kappan, a reporter for Malayalam news portal Azhimukham and secretary of the Delhi unit of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ), was arrested along with three others in Uttar Pradesh in October 2020 while on his way to Hathras to report on the gang-rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman.

The police had claimed the accused were trying to disturb the law and order situation in Hathras. They had also alleged that the accused had links with the Popular Front of India.

The rape victim died at a Delhi hospital a fortnight after her alleged rape by four men from her village on September 14, 2020.

Kappan and the other three were charged under Sections 17 and 18 of UAPA , IPC Section 124A (sedition), Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion) and Section 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings) and Sections 65, 72 and 75 of the Information Technology Act.

The bail plea of Kappan was rejected by a Mathura court in July 2021 on the ground that they were going to instigate people in Hathras and disturb the law while claiming to just go for filing a report.

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