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Siddique Kappan case | Kerala Union of Working Journalists to use Arnab Goswami case as precedent

Siddique Kappan. Photo: Special Arrangement  

The Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that it will use the court’s intervention to protect Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami as a precedent in its case for the immediate release of its secretary and journalist Siddique Kappan.

It referred to the case of Mr. Goswami when a Bench led by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde repeatedly advised it to approach the Allahabad High Court instead of fighting in the Supreme Court.

“There have been occasions in the past when the Supreme Court has interfered... In the case of Arnab Goswami, this court interfered even when his bail application was pending in the lower court... We will rely on that,” senior advocate Kapil Sibal, for the KUWJ, submitted.

“Every case is different,” Chief Justice Bobde replied.

The court further questioned the capacity or locus standi of the KUWJ to “agitate the rights of an accused” charged with several offences, including under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

“Show us any precedent where an association can agitate the rights of an accused... This is a criminal matter,” Chief Justice S.A. Bobde addressed Mr. Sibal.

The journalists’ union said it would then overcome this ‘technical’ hitch by impleading the wife or daughter of Mr. Kappan as a party in the plea for his immediate release.

Finally, the court listed the case next week.

Mr. Sibal said the FIR was ‘shocking’ to read and ex-facie false. An application filed by the KUWJ has sought an independent enquiry by a retired Supreme Court judge into the “illegal arrest” by the Uttar Pradesh police on November 5 when he was en route to Hathras where a 19-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly gangraped and murdered by four men.

The KUWJ has alleged that Mr. Kappan was beaten and tortured.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for Uttar Pradesh, said though Mr. Kappan “claims to be a journalist, the identity card he showed belonged to Tejas, a newspaper which was closed in 2018”.

A State government affidavit filed through the senior superintendent of the Mathura district jail, where Mr. Kappan is lodged, described him as “the office secretary of the Popular Front of India (PFI)”.

The affidavit alleged that Mr. Kappan and three others were going to Hathras to create a “caste divide and disturb law and order”. It said they were found carrying “incriminating material”.

Mr. Mehta said he would be able to satisfy the court’s conscience with evidence.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 2:43:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kappan-case-sc-questions-locus-standi-of-journalists-union/article33230292.ece

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