Supreme Court Issues Notice to State of UP on Siddique Kappan Bail Plea; Hearing on Sept 9

Tanisha Rana

Published on: August 30, 2022 at 15:24 IST

On Monday, the Supreme Court sought the response of the State of Uttar Pradesh on the bail plea filed by Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan. The plea has been filed by him in the case filed against him under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

A bench comprising of Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and Justice S Ravindra Bhat was hearing the bail plea filed by Siddique Kappan. The Bench has issued notice to the State government of Uttar Pradesh directing it to file its reply by September 5, 2022.

The Court has also made it clear that on September 9, it will decide the bail plea matter and dispose it off.

The court directed, “Issue notice. List on September 9, 2022 for hearing. UP Standing counsel accepts notice. Reply to be filed by September 5 and rejoinder in 3 days. Matter will be disposed of on September 9.”

Kappan, booked under the UAPA by the State government of Uttar Pradesh had moved the apex court challenging his bail rejected by the order of the Allahabad High Court on August 2.

About the Case:

Siddique Kappan, a reporter for Malayalam news portal Azhimukham and secretary of the Delhi unit of Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ), was arrested along with three other people in October 2020 in Uttar Pradesh while he was on his way to report the Hathras gang-rape and murder of a 19 year-old Dalit woman.

The case of the prosecution is that Siddique and the co-accused were travelling to Hathras to disrupt the harmony and peace in the area. The prosecution had stated that they were collecting funds to run a full of misinformation website and thus, to create violence in the area.

All the 4 accused were charged under Section 124A (sedition), Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion), Sections 17 and 18 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and Section 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings) of IPC and Sections 65, 72 and 75 of the IT Act.

In July 2021, Kappan’s bail plea was rejected by a Mathura Court on the ground that there was prima facie case that Kappan and his 3 co-accused were trying to disrupt the law and order situation in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, while they were on their way to cover the Hathras gang-rape and murder of a 19 year-old Dalit woman.

After this, Kappan had approached the High Court.

However, a single-judge bench of Justice Kishan Pal had rejected the plea stating that the prosecution has established a prima facie case that his travel to Hathras with co-accused who were not a part of the media fraternity, as well as tainted money being used by him and the co-accused, were crucial circumstances going against him in the case.

Thus, Kappan moved his appeal before the Supreme Court.

In his plea before the apex court, he argued that the High Court while rejecting his bail, had overlooked the well established principles regarding the grant of bail to an accused. He also contented that the court had without affording any cogent reasons had dismissed his bail plea.

The plea read, “The High Court, whilst passing the impugned order has egregiously failed to discharge its bounden duty of examining the entire material on record to decide whether or not a prima facie case has been made out.”

The plea also submitted that the High Court had failed to take note that the FIR/Chargesheet does not make a case for the invocation of Sections 17 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Recently, the High Court had granted bail to Mohammad Alam, one of the accused, who was the driver of the cab in which the accused and his colleagues were travelling to Hathras.

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