SC Allows Incarcerated Kerala Journalist to Make Video Call to Ailing Mother

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Siddique Kappan.

Kappan was arrested on October 5 while he was on his way to Hathras, home to the young Dalit woman who died after being allegedly gang-raped by four upper-caste men.

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — The Supreme Court on Friday granted permission to Siddique Kappan, the Kerala journalist arrested on way to Hathras in October to cover the gang rape and murder of a Dalit woman, to speak to his ailing mother via a video call.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the Kerala Union of Working Journalists in the habeas corpus petition, argued in the court that Mr Kappan’s mother was ill and had asked to speak to her son. Sibal said prison rules do not allow video conferencing with families but urged the court to accept in this case.

“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,” pleaded Sibal adding that the mother is mostly unconscious and seeks his son’s presence whenever she regains her consciousness.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde took note of the submissions of senior advocate Kapil Sibal that the mother of Kappan was unconscious and was wanting to see her son.

“Please allow her the video conferencing option so that she can see her son while she lives. We have filed an application. Please allow us,” Sibal told the bench during the hearing conducted through video conferencing.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the UP government, said he will make sure that Kappan is allowed to make the video call with his mother.

“We will allow,” said the bench which also comprised justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.

The court then adjourned the matter to the next miscellaneous date for hearing.

Kappan was arrested on October 5 while he was on his way to Hathras, home to the young Dalit woman who died after being allegedly gang-raped by four upper-caste men.

Following the arrest of Kappan along with three others, police filed a case invoking a section of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, which deals with “raising funds for a terrorist act”.

The UP government has opposed the bail request in the Supreme Court alleging Kappan had used an old identity card of a defunct newspaper to pose as a journalist and that he was part of the Popular Front of India.

However, Kappan’s lawyer has rejected the allegations and appealed that he should be freed.

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