The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear on August 26 a plea for bail filed by Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, who along with three others were arrested on October 5, 2020 by the Uttar Pradesh police under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act while he was on way to Hathras after rape and murder of a Dalit girl.
A bench presided over by Chief Justice N V Ramana said the matter would be listed on Friday as his counsel Haris Beeran pleaded for urgent hearing.
The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has earlier this month on August 2 rejected Kappan's plea for bail, "denying him the vital right," his plea claimed.
"The petitioner has spent almost two years behind bars, on the basis of trumped up charges, only because he sought to discharge his professional duty of reporting on the infamous case of the Hathras rape and murder," it added.
However, the court has granted the bail to the driver of the vehicle in which he was travelling. The petitioner claimed he was on way to Hathras to report the gang-rape and murder involving the 19-year-old Dalit girl.
The plea also said the petitioner is journalist by profession currently employed in the Azhimukham newspaper and is also a member of Press Club of India and Kerala Union of Working Journalist (KUWJ).
It also contended that he was arrested on bogus claim that there was an apprehension of breach of peace. The plea also pointed out the High Court glossed over the facts that previously on two occasions, he has been released on interim bail with no charges of any condition having been breached.
The HC denied him the relief merely on a bald statement from the prosecution, though he has not received any funds from abroad, and his sole source of income was his monthly salary for professional duty, it added.
The UP government had earlier claimed the scribe has been found associated with the Popular Front of India, which is a "reincarnation" of banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
It also alleged Kappan worked for newspaper 'Tejas' closed in December, 2018, and it was an acclaimed mouthpiece for PFI. The newspapers' views were so extreme that it called terrorist Osama Bin Laden as martyr.