The Supreme Court on Friday stunned everyone by granting bail to journalist Siddique Kappan, who has been languishing in Uttar Pradesh jail for his decision to cover the gangrape and death of a Dalit student in Hathras.
The top court asked the Kerala journalist to remain in Delhi for the next six weeks but allowed him to go back to his home state thereafter. Among other conditions imposed, Kappan will be required to mark his presence at a local police station in Delhi during this period.
The Supreme Court Bench led by CJI UU Lalit, according to Livelaw, said, “The appellant shall not misue the liberty and shall not get in touch with any of the person connected with the controversy.”
Representing Kappan, lawyer Kapil Sibal had remidned the court that his client had been in a UP jail since 5 October 2020.
Mahesh Jethmalani told the court that the police had found literature from Kappan’s possession, but Sibal said that the literature in question was found in his car.
Jethmalani then said that the government had also obtained the statements from the co-accused. To which, CJI Lalit said that the statements of co-accused could not be used as evidence against Kappan.
“At best you can say this man was travelling in a car, and he was apprehended with three others, there was some literature in the car, the other three are linked with PFI?” the CJI asked.
When CJI Lalit asked Jethmalani to explain the nature of literature found in the car, Sibal intervened to say this was for ‘Justice for Hathras gir.’
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) September 9, 2022
Jethmalani said that Kappan and other three accused were visiting Hathras to provoke the Dalit community. CJI Lalit replied, ” Every person has the right to free expression. He is trying to show that victim needs justice and raise a common voice. Is that a crime in eyes of law?”
Justice Bhat added, “Similar protests were in 2012 at India Gate, which led to a change of law. Till now you have not shown anything provocative.”