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"We Are Trying To Discourage Article 32 Petitions": Supreme Court Issues Notice To UP Govt.On Plea For Release Of Journalist Siddique Kappan

Radhika Roy
16 Nov 2020 7:19 AM GMT
We Are Trying To Discourage Article 32 Petitions: Supreme Court Issues Notice To UP Govt.On Plea For Release Of Journalist Siddique Kappan
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"We are trying to discourage Article 32 petitions", said Chief Justice of India SA Bobde while adjourning to Friday, 20th of November, the habeas corpus plea filed for release of Kerala journalist, Sidhique Kappan, who was arrested by the UP Police while he was proceeding to cover the Hathras case of alleged rape & murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman.A Bench headed by Chief Justice of...

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"We are trying to discourage Article 32 petitions", said Chief Justice of India SA Bobde while adjourning to Friday, 20th of November, the habeas corpus plea filed for release of Kerala journalist, Sidhique Kappan, who was arrested by the UP Police while he was proceeding to cover the Hathras case of alleged rape & murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde heard the submissions of Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing on behalf of Petitioner Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) and issued notice in the matter, while noting that there was a possibility that the Petitioner would be directed to approach the High Court.

In today's hearing, Sibal submitted that the Magistrate had not allowed Kappan to meet his lawyers, family or friends.

To this, the CJI asked Sibal,

"We are not on the merits of the case. Why can't you go to the High Court?"

Sibal responded that as Kappan was not allowed to meet anyone and was in jail, he could not go to the High Court. Further, an Affidavit had also been filed in this regard.

The CJI stated that the Court was trying to discourage Article 32 petitions.

On Sibal's insistence, the Court issued notice and informed Sibal that there was a possibility that they might be directed to approach the High Court.

CJI further told Sibal to file the amended petition, to which Sibal responded that the amended petition could not be filed as the lawyers were not being allowed to meet Kappan in jail.

Accordingly, the Court adjourned the matter to Friday and directed Sibal to bring the State as well.

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.

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 bench then proceeded to list the matter after four weeks refusing to issue notice on the habeas plea to the State of Uttar Pradesh.

Last week, the KUWJ filed an interim application in the habeas petition seeking permission for regular VC meetings of Kappan with his family members and lawyers after the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mathura, refused such permission.

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