Supreme Court denies and reschedules bail plea of journalist Siddique Kappan

Journalist Siddique Kappan was detained along with some others, on October 5, while going to Hathras in UP, for reporting, where a Dalit girl was allegedly gang-raped by four men.

The Supreme Court on Monday, sends a notice, for a response from the Centre, the Uttar Pradesh government, and its police chief on a plea made by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) for the release of its secretary Siddique Kappan.


Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, KUWJ’s lawyer pressed for bail plea and it got reschedule for hearing on 20 November, by a Bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Bobde. Chief Justice Bobde said the Bench would like to hear the State.

“An FIR had been registered under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act in the case. Mr Kappan is lodged in the Mathura jail,” the KUWJ noted.

“But the FIR does not have his name in it. There is no reference to an offence against him. But he is in jail since October 5. The magistrate says go to jail. The jail authorities say go to the magistrate… My Lord, this man is a journalist,” Mr Sibal submitted the statement.

When the CJI referred to the last hearing when Mr Sibal was advised to approach the Allahabad High Court for the journalist’s freedom. Mr Sibal replied, “But I am not able to meet this gentleman… I have no access to him. He is in jail”, Mr Sibal said, “I would not have tried to come straight to you under Article 32, but this is the case of a journalist… We want bail”.

The union informed the CJI that the FIR registered in the case is related to the speech of Mr Kappan on certain websites. But they also added that the URL and names of the alleged offending websites were not specified.

Mr Sibal further said, “Media is the breath of democracy. For a media professional there is no fixed time-table, no planning, no weekly off. There is a need to travel anywhere at any time by any means focusing on the news to cover, be it flood or act of terror or crime or political developments, even risking their lives… The arbitrary arrest seriously affects the work of journalists and seriously prejudice the right of people to get news”.