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"We Will Allow": CJI Bobde On Siddique Kappan's Mother's Plea To Meet Him Via Video Conferencing;"I will Take Care", Says SG

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
22 Jan 2021 7:08 AM GMT
We Will Allow: CJI Bobde On Siddique Kappans Mothers Plea To Meet Him Via Video Conferencing;I will Take Care, Says SG
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The Solicitor General assured the Court that the Government will take care of the same.

The Supreme Court on Friday adjourned for six weeks the habeas corpus petition filed by Kerala Union of Working Journalists seeking the release of scribe Siddique Kappan, who has been under custody since October 5 last year since his arrest by the UP Police while he was proceeding to report the Hathras crime.Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the UP Government, sought...

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The Supreme Court on Friday adjourned for six weeks the habeas corpus petition filed by Kerala Union of Working Journalists seeking the release of scribe Siddique Kappan, who has been under custody since October 5 last year since his arrest by the UP Police while he was proceeding to report the Hathras crime.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the UP Government, sought adjournment, which was not opposed by Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, who appeared for KUWJ,

Sibal however sought permission to allow the nonagenarian mother of interact Kappan via video conferencing.

Kappan's lawyer, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, informed the Court that the Jail Rules do not allow Video Conferencing. He submitted that whereas the Government is seeking to adjourn the matter till next week, Kappan continues to languish in Jail and his 90-years old mother is struggling to see his son. Sibal submitted that though the trial court had allowed video conferencing but subject to the jail rules.

"Mother of Kappan wants to have a video conferencing with him. She is over 90. Court says subject to jail rules. But jail rules do not allow VC," he said.

Sibal added that the mother is mostly unconscious and whenever she gains consciousness, she seeks for his son's presence.

The Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the UP Government, assured the Court that he will take care of the request.

"Leave it to me", the SG told the bench.

At this juncture, a Bench led by CJI SA Bobde said that it will allow the request for video conferencing. The Solicitor General thereafter assured the Court that the Government will take care of the same.

Meanwhile, the matter is adjourned till next Monday, on a request made by the Solicitor General.

The development relates to a habeas corpus petition filed by Kerala Union of Working Journalists seeking the release of Siddique Kappan, arrested last year 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.

Earlier, the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mathura had rejected an interim application filed by the KUWJ seeking permission for regular VC meetings of Kappan with his family members and lawyers.

It is also significant to note that the KUWJ had alleged that Kappan was prevented from meeting any lawyer and signing a vakalatnama for authorising his counsel. "The visit of Advocate Wills Mathews, requesting for a meeting with the accused in Jail on 16.10.2020 can be proved by cross checking it with the video recordings of the Jail premises," the KUWJ had said in its affidavit. The organization had also claimed that Kappan was tortured in custody and had sought for a judicial enquiry by a retired judge into the journalist's arrest.

The UP Govt has filed a counter-affidavit saying that Kappan had links with banned organizations and was attempting to create social unrest in the wake of Hathras Case. The FIR against him has provisions under the UAPA.

Subsequently, the KUWJ filed an additional rejoinder denying Kappan's connections with Popular Front of India (PFI). The KUWJ stated that Kappan, as a journalist, has strong roots in society, and may have come in contact with people from all walks of life, including the PFI, and that does not mean that he is a criminal. In any case, PFI is not a banned organization, the rejoinder stated.

The CJI-led bench has on many posting dates expressed disinclination to entertain the petition, asking the petitioner to approach the High Court. "We are trying to discourage Article 32 petitions", CJI said on one posting date.



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