Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of UU Lalit, CJ and S. Ravindra Bhat and PS Narasimha, JJ has granted bail to Journalist Siddique Kappan after considering the length of custody undergone by him ever since he was taken in custody on 06.10.2020. It is important to note that, last month, the Allahabad High Court had rejected his bail plea.
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. He has been booked under Sections 153A, 295A, 120B of the Indian Penal Code, Sections 17 and 18 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and sections 65 and 72 of the Information and Technology Act, 2000. While the charge-sheet has already been filed on 02.04.202, the matter has yet not been taken up for consideration whether charges need to be framed or not.
While the Court refrained from dealing with and commenting upon the progress and investigation and material gathered by the prosecution in support of its case as the matter is still to be taken up at the stage of framing of charges, it directed that Kappan be produced before the Trial Court within three days; and that the Trial Court shall release him on bail, subject to such conditions as the Trial Court may deem appropriate to impose to ensure Kappan’s presence and participation in the matter pending before it. Apart from this, Kappan shall either in person or through a lawyer attend the proceedings before the trial court on every single date. He will also deposit his passport if not already deposited with the investigating machinery before his actual release.
The Court also imposed the following conditions on Kappan while releasing him on bail :
- For the first six weeks, Kappan has to stay in Delhi and within the jurisdiction of Nizamuddin police Station. He cannot leave Delhi without express permission of the trial court; He also has to record his presence in the concerned police station every Monday in a register maintained for the purpose.
- After six weeks, he may go back to his native place and stay at Mallapuram in Kerala but shall report at the local police station on every Monday and mark his presence in the register maintained in that behalf.
[Siddique Kappan v. State of Uttar Pradesh, Crl.A. No.-001534-001534 / 2022, order dated 09.09.2022]
For Siddique Kappan: Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal
For State: Senior Advocate Mahesh Jethmalani