The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, jailed two years ago in Uttar Pradesh, after rejecting the state government’s plea that he should not be freed as he was allegedly involved in inciting violence.
Kappan, now in a Mathura jail under the Unlawful Activities and Prevention Act (UAPA), had moved the apex court challenging the Allahabad High Court order rejecting his bail plea on August 2.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice U U Lalit granted bail to Kappan but told him to remain in Delhi for the next six weeks.
After that he will be allowed to go back to Mallapuram in Kerala, the court said.
The Supreme Court told him to mark his presence with Delhi Police every week in Delhi and in Kerala. He was asked to submit his passport with the investigative machinery.
The Uttar Pradesh government vehemently opposed the bail of Kappan on the ground that he was allegedly involved in inciting violence.
Keeping in view the fact that no charges have been filed against Kappan and that a “Toolkit” recovered from him was only to propagate the call for justice over the rape and murder of a girl in Hathras in Uttar Pradesh, the Supreme Court granted bail to Kappan.
The Supreme Court made it clear that every person has freedom to express his views on the justice delivery system.
“Sometimes protests are necessary as there are some deficiencies,” Justice S Ravindra Bhat, one of the judges in the court, said.
When arrested, Kappan was a reporter for Malayalam News Portal and was arrested along with three others in Uttar Pradesh in October 2020 while on his way to Hathras to report on the gang-rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit girl.
The prosecution claimed that Kappan and the co-accused were travelling to Hathras with an intention to disturb peace. They were accused of collecting funds to run a website to incite violence, the affidavit filed by Uttar Pradesh government said.
All of the accused, including Kappan, were charged under vaious sections of UAPA, the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology (IT) Act.
The affidavit said that Kappan failed to explain the source of cash of Rs 45,000 found with him.
UNI SM MR