The Supreme Court on Monday allowed jailed scribe Siddique Kappan to meet his terminally ill mother in Kerala, and directed him to return within five days. The Uttar Pradesh government claimed that Kappan’s wife is collecting money in Kerala under his name and he has been projected as a “martyr” who has made a very big sacrifice.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ), submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde that according to doctors Kappan’s mother is terminally ill and she maybe alive for only a few days. “Please allow him to visit his mother for 5 days and he will come back”, said Sibal.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the UP government, contended before the bench also comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian that it is learnt that his mother is not in a serious condition as she has been projected and cited Kappan’s PFI links. The Chief Justice replied, “We are willing to commit the error, what if she dies, what will you do?”
Mehta said he understands the emotional aspect of the matter but insisted tough conditions should be imposed on Kappan when he visits his mother in Kerala. “Money is being collected under his name, as if he is some kind of a martyr,” said Mehta.
The Chief Justice said: “We will ensure that this is not done.” Mehta replied: “Big posters of his are being put up across the city, his wife is collecting money as if he has done service for the state and projected him as a martyr. He is not a journalist. Money is being collected and emotions are being stoked,” said Mehta.
The top court replied that it will ensure that nothing of this sort is done when he visits his mother, and granted 5 days’ conditional bail to Kappan.
Kappan, Secretary of KUWJ, was arrested by Uttar Pradesh Police last October while on his way to Hathras where a young Dalit woman had died after allegedly being gang-raped. The police have alleged he was visiting the village to stoke communal and casteist differences.