NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday allowed journalist Siddique Kappan, behind bars after being arrested by Uttar Pradesh police in October last year, to visit Kerala for five days to see his mother who is critically ill. A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said Kappan must be released from jail on humanitarian grounds as his mother is unwell and he must see her.
As Solicitor General Tushar Mehta contended that Kappan was an active member of People’s Front of India (PFI) and he may try to incite people in Kerala after being released, the bench said it would ensure that nothing of the sort happen. It directed that he shall not give any interview to any media, including social media.
An FIR was filed under provisions of the IPC and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) against four people including Kappan for alleged links with PFI. PFI had been accused in the past of funding protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act across the country. Kappan and his companions were arrested on October 5 while on way to Hathras, home to the young Dalit woman who died after being gang-raped, allegedly by four upper-caste men.
The other condition imposed by the court includes that he shall not meet members of the public.
“He will be entitled to meet his relatives and doctors and anybody else in connection with his mother’s health. He shall be escorted by a team of UP police. The state police of Kerala shall co-operate with the UP police in the matter. It shall be the responsibility of the UP police to ensure that the prisoner — Sidhique Kappan — travels to and from his mother’s house,” SC said.
The court said police may guard the house from outside but shall not go inside when Kappan visits his mother.