The Allahabad High Court has denied bail to Journalist Siddique Kappan in the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act case. Kappan was arrested in October 2020 in connection with Hathras Conspiracy Case.

Justice Krishna Pahal while rejecting the bail application of Siddique Kappan observed –

"It has come up in the investigation that the applicant had no work at Hathras. The State machinery was at tenterhooks owing to the tension prevailing due to various types of information being viral across all forums of media including the internet. The said sojourn of the applicant with co-accused persons who do not belong to media fraternity is a crucial circumstance going against him."

The Court also held that the defence taken up by the applicant that he is a journalist and only owing to his professional duty, he wanted to visit the place of Hathras incident stands nullified by the averments in the charge-sheet and the persons, he was arrested with, while travelling in a car. The tainted money being used by the applicant and his colleagues cannot be ruled out.

Further, the Bench also observed that the legislature has framed the U.A.P. Act to control such instances. The Courts interpret the laws enacted by the legislature which becomes functus officio after the framing of the statute.

The Court placed reliance on the Apex Court decision in the case of National Investigation Agency vs. Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, where the Court overturned the High Courts' order of granting bail to the accused, has held that Section 43(D)(5) prohibits a Court from granting bail to accused if, on a perusal of a final report filed under Section 173 Cr.P.C., the Court is of the opinion that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the accusations against such person are prima facie true. The Apex Court has also observed that the High Court had applied an altogether wrong approach by examining and evaluating the evidence in detail. The Court is not supposed to delve into the admissibility and inadmissibility of documentary and oral evidence at the stage of bail.

The Court held that a perusal of the chargesheet and documents adduced, prima facie reveal that the applicant has committed the offence.

"Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, submissions advanced by learned counsel for the parties, nature of offence, evidence on record, considering the complicity of accused, severity of punishment and the settled law propounded by the Apex Court in the case of Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali (supra), at this stage, without expressing any opinion on the merits of the case, this Court is not inclined to release the applicant on bail," the Court noted.

Senior Counsel I.B. Singh appeared for the applicant while AAG Vinod Kumar Shahi and AGA Shivnath Tilahari appeared for the State.

The applicant had sought bail under Sections 153-A, 295-A, 120B I.P.C., Sections 17, 18 of U.A.P. Act and Sections 65 and 72 of I.T. Act.

Kappan along with other co-accused was arrested by the UP Police while they were travelling to report the Hathras murder-rape incident.

He was first produced before the SDM, Mant, Mathura and was sent for judicial custody till 19.10.2020.

Kappan and the other co-accused were charged under UAPA alleging that they were trying to incite communal violence and disrupt social harmony in the wake of the Hathras incident.

The applicant was denied bail by the local Court of Mathura in July last year while taking into consideration the nature of the crime allegedly committed by him.

Cause Title - Sidhique Kappan v. State Of U.P.Thru.Prin.Secy.Home Lko.

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