The newly appointed Chief Justice of India, Justice NV Ramana, received an urgent petition from the wife of Kerala journalist Siddique Kaplan requesting his urgent intervention in releasing him on bail. The petition cited inhuman treatment meted out to her husband. The petition claimed he is being tied to a chain like an animal to a cot at a medical college hospital, Mathura. They later took him to the hospital after testing positive for Coronavirus. The petition further claimed that he could neither take food nor go to the toilet for the last four days and is critical. The petition title reads as "Most urgent/ life in danger/ pending Habeas Corpus matter". The plea further states that corrective steps should be taken immediately, failing, would end in the untimely death of Siddique Kappan.
The plea further says "Despite having knowledge about the procedure established by law for mentioning ,I am forced to approach your lordship directly, being an issue arising out of a Habeas Corpus petition pending more than 6 months, believing Justice is above all, and even laws, rules and guidelines bend before it. Importantly, media is the breath of democracy, and it is an attempt for giving breath to a media person, who is in jail for the last more than 6 months, and the Habeas Corpus petition also pending since 06.10.2020. The representation given to Jail Superintendent Mathura by message pending." Reported by:MAKTOOB MEDIA
"Illegal Detention" says Kerala Union Of Working Journalists
The case goes back to October 2020 when Kappan, along with three Muslim youths, including a cab driver, were on the way to Hathras to report on a Dalit woman's gang rape and death. Kappan was arrested by a five member Uttar Pradesh Police's special task force( STF) who have charged him and others in Mathura court on 03rd April; the Police alleged he was going to Hathras as part of a conspiracy to create law and order trouble and foment caste riots. The other three men arrested along Kappan in the car are accused of similar offenses. The Police further charged Mr Kappan by pretending to be a journalist from a non-functional newspaper while claiming he was a member of the PFI. Kerala Union of Working Journalists, Mr Kappan's lawyer, and the PFI have denied the same. The journalists' union, meanwhile, have accused the Uttar Pradesh police of making illegal detention.
Kerala union of working journalists ( KUWJ) immediately filed a Habeas corpus petition challenging his custody and illegal detention as violating his fundamental rights under article 14,19,21 freedom of equality, speech, and expression, respectively. Unfortunately, the habeas Corpus plea is pending with the supreme court for more than 06 months, along with his bail application for more than 05 months now.