The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government and the State Police for their response on the petition seeking the release of arrested Kerala journalist, Siddique Kappan.
The habeas corpus plea was filed by Kerala Union of Working Journalists, challenging the detention of Kappan. He was arrested by Mathura Police a month ago, while he was on his way to cover the Hathras gang-rape incident.
A three-judge bench of Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde, Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian adjourned the matter for hearing on Friday. The Bench asked the Union as to why it has not approached the Allahabad High Court before the apex Court, also indicating the matter to be directed to the HC, reported LiveLaw.
"We are trying to discourage Article 32 petitions (power of Supreme Court to provide relief for violation of fundamental rights). There is a spate of Article 32 petitions," the Bench said.
The Bench heard the submissions of Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing on behalf of the Union, who said that there was no concrete reason behind Kappan's arrest. Neither the FIR named him, nor any offences were alleged. Still, he has been kept in jail since October 5, and not allowed to meet the lawyer and the family, Sibal added.
To this, CJI Bobde told Sibal the top court was not on the merits of the case and raised questions about not approaching the Allahabad HC. Sibal responded that as Kappan was not allowed to meet anyone and was in jail, he could not go to the High Court, and an Affidavit had also been submitted in the same regard.
Earlier on Friday, a Mathura court rejected the bail plea of three persons, who were booked on charges of sedition and terrorism along Kappan, saying that the charges against the accused were serious, and cannot be given bail at the point when the investigation is underway.
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 alleged that the men made attempts to incite riots, caste-based violence, disturb the peace and mobilise donations illegally through a website they operated.