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Kerala Journalist Siddique Kappan was covering his intentions to 'create caste divide and disturb law and order in Hathras under the garb of journalism', the Uttar Pradesh government told the Supreme Court on Friday, November 20.
The UP government, in its affidavit, stated that Kappan was using identity card of a Kerala based newspaper named as 'Tejas' which was closed in 2018.
The government has alleged Kappan of being the office secretary of Popular Front of India (PFI), and that he along with other PFI activists and their student wing leaders were going to Hathras with a 'determined design' to create unrest, reported LiveLaw.
"His flatmate, who is also a member of PFI and its various wings had denied access. Finally, armed with search warrants, when the police searched the premises, further incriminating material was recovered,' the government told the apex court.
The state government has said that Kappan has 'no locus to approach the Top Court under an Article 32 petition since he is not in an illegal custody/confinement but is in judicial custody.
Siddique Kappan, along with three others were arrested on October 5, on their way to the village in Hathras to meet the family of an alleged gang-rape and murder victim, under section 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code 'on suspicion of their intention to commit some cognisable offence.'
The police have alleged that the men made attempts to incite riots, caste-based violence, disturb the peace and mobilise donations illegally through a website they operated.
The affidavit further read that the narrative of Kappan not being allowed to meet the lawyer and family was false. Neither a family member nor the lawyer had approached the jail authorities to date.
The affidavit states that the petition filed by Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) directly under Article 32 'is not maintainable and it is for the person in judicial custody to approach the jurisdictional High Court'.
The government said that KUWJ has done nothing but resorted to the falsehood to 'sensationalise the case' and that no fundamental rights of the petitioner were affected.
The bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian heard the matter.
The bench asked senior advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for KUWJ to go through the reply filed by the state government and file rejoinder. "You have the right to file bail, and you read the reply and then we will hear you completely," the bench as quoted.
The bench said the state has no objection to an advocate approaching the accused to get his signature for availing judicial relief. Sibal said that lawyers were earlier restrained from meeting Kappan and get his signature. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, on behalf of the government, countered Sibal, saying neither they were stopped nor any opposition was raised on this.
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