SC Grants Bail To Siddique Kappan, After Nearly 2 Years In Jail
UP Police arrested Siddique Kappan in October 2020 when he was en route Hathras to cover the rape and death of a Dalit girl.
Supreme Court granted bail to journalist Siddique Kappan after considering the length of custody already undergone by him. The UP police arrested Kappan nearly two years back on October 5, 2020 while he was en route Hathras, Uttar Pradesh to cover the rape and murder of a Dalit girl there.
The top court bench led by Chief Justice of India UU Lalit directed Kappan to be produced before the concerned trial court which will enlarge him on bail according to conditions it deems fit. The top court further directed Kappan to stay in Delhi for six weeks and mark his presence before the local police station every Monday.
Post-six weeks, Kappan can relocate to Mallapuram, his hometown in Kerala and mark his presence every Monday before the local police station there. Kappan or his lawyer has been directed to attend trial court proceedings daily. He must submit his passport, refrain from misusing his liberty, and is banned from getting in touch with his co-accused or anyone related to this case, the top court said.
The top court's order came on Kappan's plea seeking bail. He was denied bail by the lower court and later by the Allahabad High Court.
BOOM recaps the arguments in court.
Sometimes protests are needed to bring about a change: SC
The Supreme Court asked the UP government several questions to ascertain the scope of the charges against Kappan and if the journalist could be granted bail.
What exactly was the material that was found on him? Was it in his custody? Did he do anything in furtherance of the material found? As of today, what are the persons guilty of? Is there an immediate prospect of the culmination of the investigation, are some of the questions Chief Justice of India UU Lalit asked.
The UP government submitted that pamphlets, a toolkit for riots, and other material on how to interact with the police during a violent situation were found on Kappan.
"What it indicates is that they (Kappan and co-accused) were on the way to Hathras...and this is the kind of literature they were going to distribute amongst the Dalit community there...pamphlets on "Justice for Hathras Girl", Jethmalani said when CJI Lalit asked which of the material found on Kappan is supposed to be potentially dangerous.
Jethmalani said the documents recounted how the police cremated the Dalit girl's body without letting her family know so that feelings are stirred up. "This is propaganda, which the Dalits themselves are not doing. The PFI is doing it," he added.
"There are instructions on how to send emails and social media campaigns," Jethmalani added.
"Every person has the right to free expression. Is that a crime in law? He is trying to show that victim needs justice and raise a common voice. Will this be a crime in the eyes of the law?," CJI Lalit observed.
"Till now you (UP govt) have not shown anything provocative. Sometimes, protests are required," Justice Ravindra Bhat, who was also on the three-judge bench added. "There were protests at India Gate in 2011 also for Nirbhaya. Sometimes protests are needed to bring a change. You know after that there was a change in laws. These are protests," he added.
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