While the Supreme Court adjourning for four weeks the habeas corpus petition seeking the release of Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, who was recently arrested in Hathras under draconian UAPA, the Court asked the petitioner to approach the Allahabad High Court for bail.
The Bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian was hearing a petition seeking the release of Kappan after he was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police on October 5 on his way to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh, to cover the gangrape and murder of a Dalit woman.
“When we filed this plea, it was a habeas corpus petition. Now we learnt that an FIR was registered. UAPA was invoked. No court in Uttar Pradesh will grant us bail. Let us approach you under Article 32 of the Constitution,” while seeking permission to file a fresh plea under Article 32 Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal argued.
To this, CJI Bobde said,
But the court said: “Please approach Allahabad High Court. We are here in case something wrong happens.”
The plea filed by Kerala Union of Working Journalists claimed that the arrest was in total violation of guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in DK Basu v. State of West Bengal.
“The ultimate test of democracy lies in the freedom of speech and expression. Media is the breath of democracy. Denial of access of the journalists to the place of news seriously connected with the dignified life of citizens for reporting is a gross violation of Article 14, 19(1)(a) and 21 of the Constitution,” reads the plea.