The Malayali journalist arrested in UP last year was diagnosed with COVID-19 a few days ago and suffers from co-morbidities.

Siddique Kappan wearing specs a beard smiles
news Court Wednesday, April 28, 2021 - 14:03

The Supreme Court directed that Siddique Kappan, the Delhi-based Malayali journalist arrested in Uttar Pradesh last year, be shifted from Mathura jail to Delhi for treatment of COVID-19 related complication, reports Live Law. The Supreme Court directed the UP government to shift Kappan to Ram Manohar Lohiya Hospital, AIIMS or any other government hospital in Delhi. After recovery he may be sent to UP jail, the Supreme Court said. The court has allowed Siddique to approach the lower court for regular bail later.

Siddique Kappan was diagnosed with COVID-19 recently and his wife had written to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) that Kappan was chained like an animal to a bed in the Medical College Hospital of Mathura, and that he was not able to take food or even go to the toilet for four days.

The Supreme Court bench comprising CJI NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and AS Bopanna ordered this while hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) seeking Siddique Kappan's release.  

The bench had asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the UP government, to respond by 1 pm.

"Please listen to me, Mr. Mehta. If his health is complicated, he’s also confined to the relief that he wants a better treatment. Let him be admitted to a better hospital in Delhi. And after that he can be taken back," said the CJI, addressing the Solicitor General, who opposed the suggestion.

"Yesterday, you filed an affidavit that said he has fainted. Life of every person is valuable. I know it is difficult to get hospital facilities, we are aware of that," the CJI added.

"You have to consider the suggestion in the context of the precarious health condition of the person and the ultimate responsibility of state. He has the problem of diabetics, blood pressure, he has suffered an injury while in jail. Will he be able to get adequate medical help in jail?" the bench asked.

When the bench reminded the SG that "you yourself say he has comorbidities", Tushar Mehta replied that he could be treated in Mathura.

Siddique Kappan was arrested by the UP police in October last year when he was on his way to Hathras to report on the rape and murder of a Dalit woman. He was arrested along with three other people who were members of the Popular Front of India (PFI). Kappan was then charged with provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Siddique Kappan's wife Raihanath held several protests and made several pleas for his release, with the support of the KUWJ. Kappan was the secretary of the Delhi unit of KUWJ.

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