In a plea filed by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) seeking the release of detained Keralite Journalist, Siddique Kappan, the Supreme Court has asked the petitioners to approach the “correct court” relief. The UP Police detained Mr. Kappan while he was travelling to Hathras, allegedly on the grounds of conspiring to commit sedition. He has been booked under sedition laws and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The bench headed by CJI SA Bobde has adjourned the hearing in the matter by four weeks. The habeas corpus petition filed by Advocate Shweta Garg has arraigned the Central Government, the UP Government, the Delhi DGP, and the Delhi Police Commissioner as respondents. The petitioners submitted that denial of access to journalists affects the fundamental rights of ordinary citizens to gain access to information. The petition averred that journalists must have a “dignified and democratic working atmosphere.” Appearing for KUWJ, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal contended that no court in Uttar Pradesh would be ready to grant bail to the detained journalist. Protesting this, the CJI remarked that the case could be brought before the Allahabad High Court. Advocate Sibal has sought the permission of the court to file a writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution for violation of the fundamental rights of citizens at the connivance of the State. Further, it was contended that the indictment of the journalist under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act came shortly after a habeas corpus was filed in the court seeking his release.
Lakshmi Raj C