Arrested Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan deprived of basic rights; SC to hear petition on Nov 16

The petition in the Supreme Court seeks the fulfilment of the rule of law because the jail authorities have not allowed Kappan to meet his lawyer or speak to his family

Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan (Photo Courtesy: Social Media)
Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan (Photo Courtesy: Social Media)

Ashlin Mathew

The habeas corpus petition of Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, who was arrested on October 5, is due for hearing on Monday, November 16. He was arrested while he was on his way to Hathras to report on the death of the 19-year-old Dalit girl. The petition filed by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) also seeks the fulfilment of the rule of law because the jail authorities have not allowed Kappan to meet his lawyer or speak to his family.

“I had gone to Mathura jail where Siddique Kappan is lodged, but I was not allowed to meet him. This is a violation of basic human rights and rule of law. We hope to convince the Supreme Court of this on Monday,” said Wills Mathew, one of the lawyers for KUWJ. Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal had appeared for KUWJ in the Supreme Court.

When KUWJ had approached the apex court with the habeas corpus petition, it had suggested that the Allahabad High Court should be moved for the bail application. “In the petition before the supreme court, we have asked for a meeting with Siddique Kappan. We want him to be able to meet and speak to his family. He was allowed only one call since October. We want the Supreme Court to direct the High Court or the district court to ensure procedures are followed,” explained Mathew.

Kappan’s wife Rehna said that they had heard from him for the first time on November 2. “He was allowed only one call and he called his ailing 91-year-old mother as she doesn’t know he is in jail. She has been asking for him for months. Until then, we didn’t even know if he was alive. We still don’t know if he is fine and safe. We will only know these details if he speaks to me,” said Rehna. Siddique’s mother lives with his older siblings.

The family is pinning their hopes on the Supreme Court. “The petition will be heard on Monday. We can’t lose all hope now. We believe the Supreme Court will be fair. If we can’t place our faith in the Supreme Court, then where will people like us go?” underscored Rehna.

On Wednesday, during the hearing of the Republic TV owner Arnab Goswami’s case, Sibal, appearing for the state of Maharashtra, had pointed towards Kappan’s arrest before the vacation bench, comprising of Justices DY Chandrachud and Indu Banerjee. The bench did not pass comments on Sibal’s submission.

Kappan, a freelance journalist who wrote for Malayalam portals, was arrested along with three others in Mathura under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and sedition for allegedly attempting to create social tension. Soon after, the KUWJ filed a habeas corpus petition in the Supreme Court. On October 12, a bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde said it would hear a plea after four weeks.

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