Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) has filed an additional rejoinder application in the Supreme Court rebutting all allegations made by the Government against journalist Siddique Kappan for his alleged links with the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and the Popular Front of India (PFI).
Kappan has been in custody since October 5 last year after the Uttar Pradesh Police arrested him on his was to Hathras after the gang rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit girl.
According to LiveLaw, KUWJ has denied that Kappan has any connection with Popular Front of India (PFI). In this regard, the KUWJ stated that the UP Government has taken inconsistent stances in two affidavits. While the first affidavit of UP Government filed on November 20 asserted that Kappan was the “office secretary” of PFI, the second affidavit filed by it on December 9 vaguely stated that Kappan was “in touch with the officials of PFI”, KUWJ said in its rejoinder.
The rejoinder reads, “It is a matter of grave concern that, the respondents have again claimed that Mr. Kappan has committed very serious offences, despite there being materials to support any allegations in the FIR, or in the investigation, other than vague statements, thereby seriously prejudicing the faith of the common man in the legal system and the procedure established by law.”
The rejoinder also states that the jailed journalist has been subject to torture in jail according to his lawyer Wills Mathew who visited him in Mathura jail on November 16. The Government has disputed the visit of Advocate Wills Mathew but KUWJ represented by Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal is willing to refer to the jail records and video footages of November 16 to assert their argument.
Further, as reported by LiveLaw, the rejoinder states that Kappan was arrested for bailable offences on October 5, and the fact of arrest was not informed to his relatives as per the directives in DK Basu case. The UAPA charges were also allegedly added later in the FIR.
“It cannot be even called an FIR in the eyes of law, as there is no probable allegation of the ingredients of the offence attributed against the accused so far and nothing has come out from the investigation also against the accused”, added the rejoinder.
The Union repeated that Kappan was willing to undergo scientific tests to prove his innocence, and vouched his journalistic credentials and said that he was a member of the Press Council of India. “Even now the accused is ready and willing to undergo any kind of scientific tests including a Narco analysis test to prove his innocence in every respect and also ready to place on record all bank accounts to show his innocence”, the rejoinder stated.
The Bench headed by CJI SA Bobde has also allowed Siddique Kappan to talk to his 90-year-old mother via video conferencing. The Solicitor General Tushar Mehta thereafter assured the Court that the Government will take care of the same.
Kapil Sibal @KapilSibal : Mother of Kappan wants to have a video conferencing with him. She is over 90. Court says subject to jail rules. But jail rules do not allow VC.
CJI : We will allow.
SG : Leave it to me. I will take care of that.
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) January 22, 2021
The Uttar Pradesh Government had stated in their affidavit that Siddique along with other PFI activists and their student wing (Campus Front of India) leaders were going to Hathras “under the garb of journalism with a very determined design to create a caste divide and disturb law and order situation.”
The matter is now listed after 6 weeks.
The order may be read here:
Siddique Kappan used “journalist cover” to disrupt law & order: UP Gov’t to SC
No objection to Siddique meeting his lawyer: UP gov’t to SC
We are trying to discourage Article 32 petitions: Chief Justice of India