Kappan was going to Hathras to create trouble: UP govt

Siddique Kappan was going to Hathras under garb of journalist to create trouble, UP govt tells SC

It also maintained that Kappan is not in illegal custody or confinement but is in judicial custody

Supreme Court of India. Credit: PTI Photo

The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday opposed a plea for the release of Siddique Kappan, saying that he was PFI secretary and was going to Hathras under the cover of a journalist to foment law and order problem.

The newspaper, 'Tejas', he claimed to represent, had closed down in 2018, it alleged.

The Uttar Pradesh government led by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that it had no objection to the Kerala Union of Working Journalists, New Delhi sending a lawyer to meet Kappan for signature on the 'vakalatnama'. 

However, it questioned the locus standi of the association which filed a habeas corpus petition in the matter.

The state government also said the family members of Kappan were immediately informed about his arrest but no member of his family has come to meet him in jail. He, in fact, had a telephonic conversation with them.

It also maintained that Kappan is not in illegal custody or confinement but is in judicial custody following the valid judicial order passed by the competent court.

The state government claimed that the petitioner has "resorted to falsehood and has made several false statements on oath only to sensationalise the case".

"Following the investigation conducted so far, the evidence of the accused having links with banned organisations has emerged," it further claimed.

A bench presided over by Chief Justice S A Bobde asked senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the association, to go through the affidavit by the Uttar Pradesh government and respond to it. 

Before posting the matter for consideration next week, the court pointed out that there has been unfair reporting in the matter when it was adjourned on the previous date of hearing.

In its applications, the association claimed there was a violation of fundamental rights, human rights, rule of law, creating "a lot of helplessness among the journalistic fraternity in discharging their duty fearlessly considering the fate of the present detenue". 

It had sought orders for the immediate release of Kappan and allowing his lawyers and family members for a regular meeting with the detenue, and visit by district judge to New Mathura jail to enquire on the violation of human rights as well as Covid-19 guidelines.

The Uttar Pradesh police claimed to have arrested Sidhique and three others, Atiq-ur Rehman, Masood Ahmad and Alam on October 5 for they allegedly had links with the Popular Front of India, and tried to disturb peace and foment communal disharmony in the state.

The association, for its part, claimed Kappan was then on his way to Hathras for the coverage of the gang-rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit girl.