HomeIndiaSupreme Court grants bail to Kerala journalist Siddiqui Kappan

Supreme Court grants bail to Kerala journalist Siddiqui Kappan

“Every person has the right to freedom of expression,” the Supreme Court said; Kappan has been in custody for nearly two years under the UAPA.

“Every person has the right to freedom of expression,” the Supreme Court said; Kappan has been in custody for nearly two years under the UAPA.

The Supreme Court granted them bail on Friday Kerala journalist Siddiqui Kappanwho has been in custody for almost two years and is accused of committing an offense under the harsh law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)Saying “Every person has the right to free expression”.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India UU Lalit directed the state of Uttar Pradesh to produce Mr. Kappan within three days before the trial court to be released on bail, which will ensure his appearance at the trial. .

Read also | Cab driver who took journalist Siddiqui Kappan to Hathras gets bail after 22 months

The Bench directed that Mr. Kappan would stay in Delhi for six weeks immediately after his release and report at the local police station every Monday. At the end of six weeks, he was free to live again in Malappuram, his native place in Kerala. He will continue to register his presence at the local police station there on Monday as well.

Mr. Kappan will be present on each date of his trial in the case either personally or through his counsel. If not already done then he should hand over his passport to the investigating agency. He should not come in contact with any person related to the matter. The court said restrictions on his movement can be relaxed, if necessary, to allow him to take part in proceedings or seek bail in a money laundering case initiated against him.

The court refrained from commenting in its order on the progress of the investigation or prosecution material against Mr. Kappan, saying that charges in the case were yet to be filed, although the chargesheet was submitted to the trial court in April 2021.

look | Data Point: UAPA, 153A, PMLA: What do these laws have in common?

It said that Kappan was eligible for bail on the basis of the period of custody and the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case.

Uttar Pradesh, represented by senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, objected to Kappan’s bail plea, represented by senior advocate Kapil Sibal and advocate Haris Biran. He was the “instigator agent” of the “terrorist gang” PFIFinanced and sent to incite riots in Hathras Dalit girl allegedly gangraped, On October 5, 2020, police arrested him along with three others while traveling in a car to Hathras after his attempt turned out to be “negative”.

Mr Jethmalani alleged that the “literature” found in the car contained messages like ‘Justice for Hathras’ and ‘Optics to stir up emotions’. There was reportedly a “toolkit” or “riot instigator booklet”.

“Every person has the right to free expression. He must be trying to propagate the idea that there is something and that the victim needs justice and therefore ‘Let us be a common voice’… Would this be a crime against the law? ” Chief Justice Lalit asked Uttar Pradesh.

Justice S. Ravindra Bhat reminisced how the protests at India Gate had once led to a change in the rape law.

Addressing Mr. Jethmalani, Justice Bhat said, “Sometimes protest is necessary to highlight deficiencies at some point. So far, you (Uttar Pradesh) have not shown anything provocative.”

The court asked Mr. Jethmalani whether there was anything in the literature which indicated that Mr. Kappan was the instigator of the riots in Hathras. The court asked whether any explosive was found in the vehicle, to which the state replied in the negative.

“So, the best you can say is that this man was traveling in a vehicle with three others when you caught him on the Yamuna Expressway and there was some literature inside the car…” Chief Justice Lalit summed up. .

Mr. Sibal said that literature on Mr. Kappan’s person was not found. These documents had nothing to do with India. “It is not prosecution but harassment,” the senior counsel said.

The Chief Justice told Mr. Sibal, “We are only looking at the question of bail here…” and pointing to Mr. Jethmalani said that “the man is in custody for almost two years. Is there any immediate possibility of an investigation? Seeing some sort of culmination?”

Mr. Jethmalani assured the court that the investigation would be completed soon. The delay in framing of charges was due to the process of making someone an official witness in the case. He suggested that instead of seeking bail now, Kappan may apply for leave later.

Chief Justice Lalit, on behalf of Uttar Pradesh, said, “Your attempt to make someone as an official witness is on, which means that the case is not ready for framing of charges.”

“It will happen in two months,” replied Mr. Jethmalani.

Chief Justice Lalit said, “Mr. Jethmalani, we will grant him bail.”

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