Breaking: Supreme Court Grants Bail To Siddique Kappan
Ths Supreme Court has granted bail to Siddique Kappan who was arrested for an alleged attempt to incite riots in Hathras after the 2020 gang rape and murder of a Dalit girl.
A Bench comprising of Chief Justice U. U. Lalit, Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice P. S. Narasimha ordered, "considering the length of custody undergone by the appellant and in the peculiar facts of the case, we direct that the appellant be produced before the trial court in 3 days and the trial court shall release him on bail on such condition that the trial court may deem appropriate".
It shall be the condition of bail that the appellant shall stay within the jurisdiction of a police station in Delhi and shall not leave Delhi without permission of the trial court. He shall record his presence in concerned police on every Monday. The condition shall be applicable for the first six weeks. After six weeks, the appellant shall be at liberty to go back to his native place Malappuram in Kerala and report to the local police station every Monday. The appellant shall attend the proceeding before the trial court on every single date personally or through a lawyer. The appellant shall deposit his passport before his release and the appellant shall not misuse his liberty in any manner or get in touch with persons associated with the controversy in question, the Court said in its order.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appeared for Kappan and submitted that Kappan is in custody since October 2020.
Senior Advocate Mahesh Jethmalani appeared for the state of UP. "After their funding dried up, it was decided in the PFI meeting that they will now go in for inciting riots in sensitive areas to create inter-caste or inter-religious problems", Jethmalani submitted.
"He was there to create riots. Our investigation has found out that he was not accredited to the media outlet that he claimed to be affiliated with. He was found affiliated to Tejas, the official media outlet of PFI. The idea was to incite riots and use explosives", Jethmalani submitted.
One state has already declared PFI to be a terrorist organization. "But it is a terrorist gang nevertheless", Jethmalani submitted.
Was the literature used by this man? The CJI asked. It was nipped in the bud, Jethmalani replied.
"At best what you can say is that he was travelling with three others in the car and inside the car, there was certain literature. All the three you have apprehended", the Bench said.
Parameters for bail will be custodial period, it's almost been two years. Is there substantial progress in the investigation?, the CJI asked.
Jethmalani submitted that there is progress in that within two months charges will be framed.
The CJI asked whether any explosive was found with Kappan. Mahesh Jethmalani replied in the negative. There are degrees of the offence, the CJI said.
"They went there to incite riots, the literature was only a tool kit", Jethmalani said.
Kapil Sibal then read out the literature that was seized by the police, which was produced along with the counter affidavit.
Which of this literature is dangerous?, the CJI asked.
Jethmalani then read out the literature, stating that it was proposed to be distributed among the Dalits. "It is not the Dalits doing it, it is the PFI doing it" he added.
Justice Bhat said that after the Delhi gang rape there were protests and the law was changed thereafter. You have not shown us anything provocative, the Judge added.
Jethmalani also submitted in reply to the Court's query that only three copies of the literature were seized from the accused.
Kappan had applied for bail in the matter before the Allahabad High which was dismissed by the Court observing that the defence taken up by him 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, the Court had said.
Kappan had sought bail under Sections 153-A, 295-A, 120B of the Indian Penal Code Sections 17, 18 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention 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.
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. Kappan 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.