Journalist Siddique Kappan moved a special leave petition before the Supreme Court of India challenging the rejection of his bail plea by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court. On a plea moved on his behalf by Adv Haris Beeran, a bench presided over by the Chief Justice of India, N V Ramanna, has ordered that the matter be listed on Friday, Aug 26, 2022 before an appropriate Bench.

Kappan was arrested on Oct 5, 2020, when he was travelling to Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, to cover the heinous gangrape and murder of a young Dalit woman. His bail petition was rejected by the Allahabad High Court on Aug 2, 2022.

The SLP said that, “as a result of the rejection of the application, thePetitioner, a journalist of 12 years experience,
who has also served as the secretary of the Delhi chapter of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists continues to be incarcerated. Presently, the Petitioner has spent almost two years behind bars, on the basis of trumped up charges, only because he sought to discharge his professional duty of reporting on the infamous case of the Hathras rape/murder.”

The present petition “raises seminal questions pertaining to the right to liberty, as well as the freedom of expression and speech vested in independent media under the aegis of the Constitution. ” The impugned judgment grossly overlooks the well established principles regarding the grant of bail, and without affording any cogent reasons, has mechanically dismissed the bail application, the SLP contended, adding that the High Court, whilst passing the impugned order has egregiously failed to discharge its bounden duty of examining the entire material on record to decide whether or not a prima facie case has been made out. Pertinently, this Hon’ble Court has considered the judgment in “NIA V. Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali“ (which has been relied on by the High Court) and
proceeded to grant bail to the petitioner therein.

Moreover, the High Court has failed to take note of the fact that the FIR / charge sheet , ex facie does not make out a case for the invocation of Section 17 and Section 18 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967.

Read the SLP here:

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