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Siddique Kappan Case : KUWJ To Implead Wife & Daughter Of Journalist; Supreme Court Adjourns Hearing Next Week

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
2 Dec 2020 8:38 AM GMT
Siddique Kappan Case : KUWJ To Implead Wife & Daughter Of Journalist; Supreme Court Adjourns Hearing Next Week
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Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Kerala Union of Working Journalists(KUWJ) in the habeas petition filed for release of journalist Siddique Kappan, told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the wife and daughter of the Kerala journalist will be impleaded in the petition.A bench headed by Chief Justice of India then adjourned the hearing till next week.Sibal offered to implead the...

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Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Kerala Union of Working Journalists(KUWJ) in the habeas petition filed for release of journalist Siddique Kappan, told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the wife and daughter of the Kerala journalist will be impleaded in the petition.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India then adjourned the hearing till next week.

Sibal offered to implead the wife and daughter of Kappan in the petition after the CJI asked if a third party organization can espouse the cause of an accused.

In the brief hearing held on Wednesday, Sibal submitted that the matter deserved the exercise of the extraordinary jurisdiction by the top court as it involved "grave violations".

The allegations in the FIR are wholly false, Sibal submitted.

He referred to the recent order passed by the Supreme Court in the case of Arnab Goswami to submit that the court has a duty to ascertain if the FIR allegations constitute an offence to justify the custody of the accused.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the State of Uttar Pradesh, refuted the allegations. He informed the bench that after the previous order, a lawyer has met Kappan to obtain his signature in the vakaltnama. So, Kappan should pursue the ordinary legal remedies of bail like the co-accused, suggested the SG.

"In Arnab Goswami's case, your lordships have interfered when the bail application was pending. I will rely on that", Sibal submitted in response.

"We understand this if the accused is saying this. Can you agitate the rights of the accused like this?", CJI asked Sibal.

At this juncture, Sibal said that he will implead the wife and daughter of Kappan in the petition.

When CJI observed that the matter requires to go to the High Court, Sibal submitted that there are exceptional circumstances in the case.

Sibal added that the investigation was "shocking" and that the phone numbers mentioned by the UP Government in its affidavit to claim that Kappan's relatives were informed about his arrest are non-existent and have no relation to the accused.

The SG submitted that Kappan was a 'fake journalist' as he was found with the identity card of a newspaper which was shut three years ago.

Kappan, a freelance journalist reporting for Malayalam portals, was arrested by the UP police on October 5 along with three others in an FIR registered for alleged criminal conspiracy to create societal unrest in the wake of Hathras incident. The stringent provisions of anti-terror legislation Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and sedition were invoked against Kappan and others. A local court in Mathura remanded them to custody.

Following his arrest, the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) filed a habeas corpus petition in the Supreme Court challenging Kappan's custody. The KUWJ argued that the arrest was illegal and unconstitutional.

When the issue came up for hearing on November 20, the bench led by Chief Justice SA Bobde recorded the statement of the Solicitor General, who appeared for the State of Uttar Pradesh, that there was no objection to Kerala journalist Siddiqque Kappan meeting a lawyer while in jail to sign a vakalatnama.

"There was no objection and there is no objection," said the Law officer.

SG Tushar Mehta denied the allegations of the petitioner that Kappan was denied access to a lawyer.

On October 12, a bench lead by the Chief Justice of India expressed disinclination to entertain the petition and suggested to Sibal (who was appearing for KUWJ) that the petitioner should approach the High Court.

The UP Government has filed a counter-affidavit alleging that Kappan was using the garb of journalism to create social unrest in the wake of Hathras incident. It was also alleged that Kappan has links with unlawful organizations.

The Kerala Union of Working Journalists filed a rejoinder to UP Affidavit stating that Siddique Kappan was subjected to custodial torture and sought judicial enquiry by a retired judge into his arrest and custody



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