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New Delhi: It’s been a year since journalist Siddique Kappan was arrested by UP Police while on his way to Hathras to cover the gang-rape of a 19-year-old Dalit woman, who succumbed to her injuries days later. The Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) has been filing multiple petitions to provide him “proper medical treatment”.
The latest contempt petition in the Supreme Court filed on October 6, Wednesday, by the KUWJ alleges that the journalist is “sick, demoralised and in severe pain” due to lack of medical attention to him.
The plea refers to an order passed by the Supreme Court on April 28, directing the UP government to provide “adequate and effective medical assistance to him, and to ally all apprehension relating to his health”. The top court had directed that Kappan be shifted from Mathura jail to a government hospital in Delhi for medical treatment.
The apex court had also said that Kappan’s “recovery from illness was the first requirement for discharging him and shifting him back to Mathura jail”. However, the KUWJ petition alleges that he was discharged from AIIMS when he was COVID-19 positive and had high sugar level along with dental problems and other serious medical conditions. It further says the act of discharging him at midnight of May 6, depriving him of his right to sleep, amounted to contempt of court.
“The accused is still in need of the medical assistance, which was denied to him, and delay in treatment will result in irreparable injury,” the plea said.
The plea further states that despite being served with two notices, one on May 9 and the second on May 25, the officials didn’t take any corrective steps in this regard, and thus the same leads to the conclusion that their inaction has been deliberate and willful.
“He needs hospitalisation even now and he is in pains. The petitioner was trying their level best to get the medical issues settled from Mathura jail and courts, but could not and left with no other alternative options, the petitioner is filing the present contempt petition.”
It demands contempt action against senior superintendent of Mathura jail, two special secretaries of Uttar Pradesh department of Home Affairs, chief secretary of the UP government and the UP director general of police.
According to the plea, Kappan’s counsel has still not been provided with a copy of the 5,000-page chargesheet, even though it was filed months ago in April. It further states that the chargesheet was essential to contradict the allegations of the respondents [UP government officials], on the basis of which his bail petitions were being dismissed. “It is an issue seriously affecting the rule of law, procedure established by law, and above all the credibility of the legal system,” it said.
The UP Police’s special task force (STF) on April 3 chargesheeted eight people, including Kappan and Popular Front of India’s students’ wing leader K.A. Rauf Sherif, in a Mathura court on charges of sedition, criminal conspiracy, funding of terror activities and other offences. The others named in the chargesheet are Atiqur Rehman, Mohammad Danish, Alam, Masood Ahmad, Feroz Khan and Asad Badruddin.
The accused were chargesheeted under Indian Penal Code sections of 153 (A) promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language), 124(A) (sedition), 295 (A) (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings) and 120(B) (criminal conspiracy).