A Mathura Court on Tuesday dropped the proceedings against Kerala-based journalist Siddique Kappan and three other persons in connection with a case registered against them under charges related to apprehension of breach of peace while they were on their way to Hathras to meet the family of a Dalit woman allegedly raped and murdered last year.
A Mathura Court dropped proceedings on charges related to apprehension of breach of peace against Kerala journalist #SiddiqueKappan and 3 others as the police failed to complete the inquiry against them within the prescribed period of 6 months
The Sub Divisional Magistrate of Mant, Ram Datt Ram dropped the Proceedings against them, as the police failed to complete the inquiry against them within the prescribed period of six months as stipulated under Section 116 (6) of CrPC. This Section states:
“The inquiry under this section shall be completed within a period of six months from the date of its commencement, and if such inquiry is not so completed, the proceedings under this Chapter shall, on the expiry of the said period, stand terminated unless, for special reasons to be recorded in writing, the Magistrate otherwise directs: Provided that where any person has been kept in detention pending such inquiry, the proceeding against that person, unless terminated earlier, shall stand terminated on the expiry of a period of six months of such detention.”
They have been discharged of the charges under Criminal Procedure Code (CrPc) sections 151(Arrest to prevent the commission of cognizable offences), 107(Security for keeping the peace in other cases) and 116 (Inquiry as to truth of information).
The accused [Atiqur Rahman, Masood Ahmed and Alam and Siddique Kappan] were arrested by the Maan police under the above-mentioned charges while they were going to Hathras.
Initially, they were arrested under the apprehension of causing a breach of peace and were produced before a court of the sub-divisional magistrate which sent them to judicial custody.
Subsequently, they were booked under the UAPA alleging that he and his co-passengers were trying to incite communal riots and disrupt social harmony in the wake of the Hathras gangrape-murder case.
They have been under judicial custody and in April 2021, eight people linked to Popular Front of India, including its students’ wing leader K A Rauf Sherif and Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, were charge-sheeted by Uttar Pradesh police’s Special Task Force in a court here for sedition, criminal conspiracy, funding of terror activities and other offences.
While being in judicial custody, the court, which was hearing the case related to breach of peace sent them a notice under Section 111 of CrPC which is related to the order of the magistrate against any person, likely to commit a breach of peace.
Thereafter, a notice was served to them in jail asking them as to why they should not be asked to submit a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh each, along with sureties from two guarantors of the same amount.
They denied the charges levelled against them and thereafter, since the police, in the prescribed period of six months, could not produce evidence in support of their case, the court yesterday discharged the accused on technical grounds.
Kerala based Journalist Siddique Kappan has moved a regular bail application before the Mathura District Court stressing that in the charge sheet, there is nothing to connect the applicant with the alleged offences other than bald allegations, without supporting documents.
Referring to Supreme Court’s order granting liberty to him to seek remedy available in law including granting liberty to file an application for bail along with other reliefs, the Bail Application avers that keeping him in jail on the strength of UAPA is nothing but a misuse of its provisions, more particularly when there is no iota of evidence or recovery against the accused even in the charge sheet
Recently, Kappan’s wife wrote to the CJI saying that that he (who has recently tested Positive for COVID-19) is chained like an animal in a cot of the Medical College Hospital, Mathura, without mobility, and that he is not able to take food, go to the toilet for the last more than 4 days, and is very critical.
The letter also stated that the Writ of Habeas Corpus (seeking Kappan’s release) petition filed on 06th October 2020 which was supposed to be disposed of on 09th March 2021 had not been disposed of despite it being listed it more than 7 times.
Thus, it sought immediate steps/ necessary orders are passed to release Kappan from the Medical College Hospital back to the Mathura Jail as an interim relief, till the disposal of the mentioning application filed on 22nd April 2021.
It may be noted that Citing medical emergency, Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) has moved the Supreme Court seeking the transfer of Kerala Journalist Siddique Kappan to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) or Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi.
In its plea, the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) has submitted that on 20th April 2021, Kappan collapsed in the bathroom with serious injuries and later on he tested positive for COVID-19 and is presently hospitalized in a Mathura hospital.
The UP Government alleged that Kappan was linked to the Popular Front of India and was trying to incite communal riots under the garb of a journalist.
The KUWJ has denied that Kappan has any connection with the Popular Front of India (PFI). In this regard, the KUWJ states that the UP Government has taken inconsistent stances in two affidavits.
Significantly, the Supreme Court had, on April 28 directed that Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan be shifted from Mathura Jail in Uttar Pradesh to a government hospital in Delhi for medical treatment.
Pursuant to this order, he was shifted from Mathura Jail to AIIMS, New Delhi in an ambulance and was under treatment since April 30, however, the Notice alleges that none of the family members or the lawyer of Kappan was informed about the progress of his medical condition/treatment till May 7, 2021.