The Chief Justice of India SA Bobde while adjourning the Habeas Corpus plea filed on Friday (20th November 2020) by Sidhique Kappan, who was arrested by the UP Police while he was proceeding to cover the Hathras case of alleged rape & murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman said, “We are trying to discourage Article 32 petitions”.
At the hearing, Kapil Sibal submitted that the magistrate had not allowed meeting his lawyers, family, or friends, he could not go to the High Court. Further, an Affidavit had also been filed in this regard, when CJI asked from Mr. Sibal,
“We are not on the merits of the case. Why can’t you go to the High Court?”
The CJI stated that the Court was trying to discourage Article 32 petitions.
CJI further told Sibal to file an amended petition, to which Sibal responded that the amended petition could not be filed as the lawyers were not being allowed to meet Kappan in Jail. Accordingly, the Court adjourned the matter to Friday and directed Sibal to bring the State as well.
On Sibal’s insistence, the Court issued notice and informed Sibal that there was a possibility that they might be directed to approach the High Court.
The background of the present case is that Kappan is a freelance journalist who was arrested for alleged criminal conspiracy to create social unrest in the wake of the Hathras incident. Following his arrest, the Kerala Union of Working Journalists filed a Habeas Corpus petition in the Supreme Court challenging Kappan’s custody. It was argued that the arrest was illegal and unconstitutional.
Last week, the KUWJ filed an interim application in the habeas petition seeking permission for regular VC meetings of Kappan with his family members and lawyers, after the CJM, Mathura refused such permission.