New Delhi [India], February 15 (ANI): Taking a humanitarian approach, Supreme Court on Monday granted five-day interim bail, with conditions, to Siddique Kappan, the Kerala journalist who was arrested on his way to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh where a Dalit girl was allegedly gang-raped. The bail was granted to Kappan to visit his 90-year-old mother, who is seriously ill.
The apex court permitted Kappan to go to Kerala and said that during his visit he won't give any interviews to any media including to social media, and shall not meet members of the public except his family members and relatives.
A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde and also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian passed the order today.
The CJI in its order said that the Uttar Pradesh police will take him to his mother's house and Kerala Police shall guard the house but not remain present when Kappan meets his ailing mother.
"We are of the view that the interest of justice would be sufficed if appropriate conditions would be imposed on him (S Kappan) for appropriate safeguards of Kappan," the CJI said.
Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) had earlier pleaded the Court for the release of its secretary and journalist Siddique Kappan, who was detained along with some others on October 5 while on their way to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh, where a Dalit girl was allegedly gang-raped by four men.
"We accordingly permit Siddique Kappan to visit Kerala for five days only, with the purpose of seeing his mother. During this visit, he (S Kappan) shall not give any interviews to any media (including social media). He shall not meet members of the public except his relatives," the CJI Bobde while pronouncing the order said.
The Supreme Court also made it clear that he (Kappan) shall be escorted by a team of officers from Uttar Pradesh police. The Kerala police shall cooperate with the Uttar Pradesh Police in the matter.
"It shall be the responsibility of the Uttar Pradesh Police to ensure detenue travels to and from mothers house. The police in Kerala shall guard the house and not remain present when detenue meets his mother," the CJI said and granted give day interim bail to S Kappan.
An FIR had been registered under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in the case against Kappan by the UP police.
The UP police had said it has arrested four people, including Kappan, having alleged links with the PFI in Mathura and identified the arrested persons as Siddique from Malappuram, Atiq-ur Rehman from Muzaffarnagar, Masood Ahmed from Bahraich and Alam from Rampur.
Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, appearing for Kappan, submitted to the Apex Court that he was informed that she (Kappan's mother) may not survive more than three to four days while quoting the doctors report.
Pleading for mercy for five-day interim bail, Sibal said that Kappan's mother couldn't talk, the doctors, are now saying, she is going to survive for the next three to four days.
During the course of the hearing, the CJI wanted to know from Sibal, as to where his mother is, to which, he replied, she is in Kerala.
"Please allow us to visit, for five days only," Sibal pleaded to the CJI led bench.
To this, the Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, appearing for the State of UP, objected to it and said, mother's ground, can not be the ground, for seeking such kind of relief.
"What is this, last time, someone wants to see his mother," the CJI said, making a scathing attack on Mehta.
Mehta also went on to argue that my instructions were, she is unable to even recognize now her son, even, that is the case.
"Can we have it tomorrow," Mehta said, but the CJI refused and passed the interim order.
"In these circumstances, we consider it appropriate that the prisoner shall visit his mother only and return to the prison at the end of the fifth day after he allows to travel," the CJI said.
The CJI also asked the SG Mehta that if she (Kappan's mother) will die, what you will do?
Mehta also argued that for the last three years, the newspaper or (media) organisation in which, Kappan was working, has been closed.
"He is a successor of some Hazi or something," the SG Mehta said.
"We are taking it and passing orders on the face value of Kapil Sibal," the CJI said and granted interim bail to Kappan.
We will ensure that he only, goes to his house in Kerala and meet his seriously ailing mother, and close family members only, and no interviews would be given by him to anybody, the CJI said.
"This is a very well thought of this case to get relief in such kind of fashion," the SG Mehta said.
Again, the CJI objected to the arguments of Mehta and observed if you find him guilty, you can take him into a task, and added that this is nothing to deal with the merits of the case.
The Apex Court was hearing the habeas corpus petition filed by KUWJ (Kerala Union of Working Journalists) seeking its direction to release its Delhi unit Secretary, and senior journalist, Siddique Kappan, from the illegal arrest and detention from Uttar Pradesh police.
Siddique Kappan was arrested at a Toll plaza near Hathras, while on his way to Hathras in connection with his reporting assignment to cover the brutal gangrape and murder of a 19-year-old girl. (ANI)