New Delhi: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on Friday countered the claims of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) that Siddique Kappan was illegally confined.
Mehta, representing the Uttar Pradesh government, submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde that Kappan was arrested and remanded by a competent court, and his bail was heard for nine days. Mehta insisted that the KUWJ should move the High Court.
The apex court recorded the statement by Uttar Pradesh government that there was no objection to an advocate approaching Kappan, wherever he is, to obtain his signature for a ‘vakalatnama’ to represent him in court. “There was no objection and there is no objection”, said Mehta.
The Chief Justice told senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing KUWJ, to go through the reply filed by the Uttar Pradesh government. “Your client is union of journalists and not the accused,” Chief Justice told Sibal.
Mehta also objected to the statements made by Sibal that his client was not allowed to meet the journalist. Sibal submitted that his client first went to the magistrate seeking permission to meet Kappan, who asked them to move the jail authorities. Later, when they went to the jail authorities they asked them to go to the magistrate. “The magistrate told us to go to the Supreme Court”, submitted Sibal.
Chief Justice told Sibal that the Uttar Pradesh government is saying that Kappan is accused for a certain offence and he was produced in court. “This is not detention under preventive law”, added the Chief Justice.
The top court has fixed the matter for further hearing next week.
The KUWJ had filed a habeas corpus petition seeking immediate release of Kappan and cited violation Articles 14, 19 and 21.
The plea claimed that on October 5, Kappan was arrested at Toll Plaza near Hathras. He was on the way to report on the alleged rape and death of a 19-year-old girl in Hathras.
The plea filed through advocate Wills Mathews termed the arrest as illegal and unconstitutional. The journalist has been charged under the anti-terror law UAPA or the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.