Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of SA Bobde, CJ and AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ has allowed Journalist Sidhique Kappan to visit his ailing mother for a period of 5 days.
The direction of the Court came after Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal submitted before the Court that Kappan’s mother is in a critical condition and is not likely to survive for long.
“In these circumstances, we consider it appropriate to permit the prisoner- Sidhique Kappan to visit his mother and return to the prison at the end of the 5th day after he is allowed to travel.”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, on the other hand, expressed a grave apprehension that Kappan was likely to use this opportunity to have himself paraded in the public and gather support for his activities which are otherwise against the law.
The Court, hence, imposed following conditions in the interest of justice:
(i) Kappan is allowed to go to Kerala for a period of five days only for the purpose of seeing his ailing mother.
(ii) During his visit, he shall not give any interview to any media including the social media.
(iii) He shall not meet the members of the public. He will be entitled to meet his relatives and doctors and anybody else in connection with his mother’s health.
(iv) He shall be escorted by the team of officers of the U.P Police. The State police of Kerala shall co-operate with the U.P. police in the matter. It shall be the responsibility of the U.P. Police to ensure that Kappan travel to and from his mother’s house.
(v) The police may guard the house from outside, but shall not go inside the house, when the Kappan visits his mother.
The Kerala journalist was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on his way to Hathras, Uttar Pradesh to report on the alleged gang-rape of a Dalit woman, who later died in the Hospital.
[Kerala Union of Working Journalists v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 91, order dated 15.02.2021]