The Kerala Union of Working Journalists has been questioning the arrest of Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan when he was on his way to the Hathras victim’s house.

Photo Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan He is smiling and looking forward
news Court Monday, December 14, 2020 - 17:27

The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) to file an affidavit against the affidavit filed by the Uttar Pradesh government in the Kerala scribe arrest case. The SC will hear KUWJ’s plea, which questions the arrest of journalist Siddique Kappan in October when he was on his way to the Hathras victim’s house, in January.

A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde allowed the journalists’ body to file its response to the additional affidavit of the Uttar Pradesh government in the case. However, the bench, also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, did not agree to the submission of senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who is representing the KUWJ, that the case be listed in the first week of January instead of third on reopening of courts after the winter break.

“First two weeks (in January) are miscellaneous (weeks when fresh matters will be heard),” the bench said in a hearing conducted through video conferencing.

Earlier, the Uttar Pradesh government had told the bench that “shocking findings” have emerged in the investigation so far in the case in which Kappan was arrested on his way to Hathras. Kappan claimed that he is working as a journalist with a Kerala-based daily but that newspaper was closed two years back and investigation conducted so far has found some shocking findings, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had told the bench.

KUWJ, which has been questioning Kappan’s arrest, had refused to approach the Allahabad High Court as suggested by the apex court for seeking bail and other reliefs.

“We’d like to argue the matter in the apex court itself and implead Kappan’s wife and others in the plea,” Sibal had said. “The high court has granted one month’s time on the habeas corpus plea of the other accused in the same case and I want to argue here,” Sibal had said, adding, “Hear me finally.”

The Uttar Pradesh government recently filed an affidavit in the apex court claiming that Kappan was going to Hathras under the garb of journalism with a very determined design to create caste divide and disturb law and order. The state alleged that Kappan is the office secretary of the Popular Front of India (PFI) and was using his profession as a cover by showing the identity card of a Kerala-based newspaper which was closed in 2018.

Meanwhile, in its counter affidavit filed in the matter, KUWJ urged the apex court that an independent inquiry be conducted by a retired top court judge to determine the facts of the alleged illegal arrest and detention of Kappan. KUWJ claimed that Uttar Pradesh Police had made a false and incorrect statement that Kappan is the office secretary of PFI as he is working as a journalist only.

In its rejoinder affidavit, KUWJ alleged that the state had filed a misleading affidavit, misrepresenting the facts in order to justify its “illegal and unlawful detention” and “malicious prosecution” of Kappan and that there are no materials to support the allegations against him.

It said that Kappan had attempted to visit Hathras on October 5 in the discharge of his journalistic duties and had intimated his employer prior to his trip. Kappan was arrested on October 5 while he was on his way to Hathras, home to the 19-year-old Dalit woman who died after being allegedly gang-raped by four dominant caste men.

Read: ED says PFI member Rauf Sharif funded Hathras trip of Siddique Kappan, others

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