New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday, 16 November, declined to pass any interim relief in the habeas corpus plea filed on behalf of Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, less than a week after it granted interim bail to Republic editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami after going into the details of the case against him.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde issued notice in the plea, and said the matter would be listed on Friday, 20 November, when the State of Uttar Pradesh would have to respond regarding Kappan’s arrest and the request that he be granted interim bail.

The court was hearing the habeas corpus petition against the journalist's arrest which had been filed in the apex court by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) soon after he had been picked up by the police on October 5, calling the action illegal and unconstitutional.

During the hearing on Monday, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who appeared for the Kerala Union of Working Journalists, sought interim bail for the journalist, saying he has been in jail since October 4. Sibal argued that the first information report filed at Chandpa police station of Hathras in the case does not mention Kappan’s name. The magistrate did not allow Kappan to meet his lawyers or family or friends, either, he contended.

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Sibal informed the court that a plea for interim bail for journalist Siddique Kappan had also been filed. However, since the KUWJ representatives were not allowed to meet Kappan in jail, they have not been able to get his signature.

Kappan along with three others was illegally detained on October 5 while he was travelling to meet the family of the 19-year-old Dalit woman from Hathras who was gangraped by four Thakur men. A day later, the four of them were booked under sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and other provisions of the Indian Penal Code, including sedition.          

The Uttar Pradesh Police alleged that the four men are linked to the Popular Front of India, a Kerala-based organisation that the state government has sought to be banned for its alleged involvement in the violence during the protests against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act. The case registered against them relates to the alleged conspiracy to instigate riots along caste lines and defame the state government over the rape-and-murder case.