SC directs Uttar Pradesh govt to file medical report of journalist Siddique Kappan tomorrow

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Uttar Pradesh government to file a medical report of journalist Siddique Kappan and adjourned the matter for further hearing till Wednesday.

"Let us first see the reports. Please produce medical reports tomorrow. If possible, circulate it today," According to Live Law, Supreme Court's three-judge bench, led by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, reported Live Law.

Supreme Court's three-judge bench was hearing the habeas corpus petition filed by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) seeking its immediate direction to transfer Kappan from Mathura hospital to AIIMS, New Delhi, due to his serious ill-health.

According to Live Law, during the hearing, the Bench sought ten minutes to take up the matter as it was facing technical glitches. But, the Solicitor General insisted that the matter be posted tomorrow before a Special Bench.

But the CJI said: "We will hear this matter. Don't know why you want to restrict your prayers. We are hearing this," reported Live Law.

Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) alleged that Kappan has been chained to a cot in the hospital he was admitted to after falling in the bathroom and later testing positive for COVID-19.

The UP government refuted the allegations that Kappan has been chained to a cot at the hospital and said it would file a short reply on his medical records by tomorrow. A bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and A S Bopanna asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the state government, to file the medical records by Wednesday. At the outset, Mehta said he had a preliminary objection to the habeas corpus petition filed by KUWJ as Kappan has been in judicial custody under the judicial order.

He said the habeas corpus petition was not maintainable in the case where an accused is under judicial custody.

Advocate Wills Mathew, appearing for KUWJ, said that on April 20 he fell in the bathroom and on April 21 he was tested positive for COVID-19.

He added that besides the reliefs being sought, Kappan should also be allowed to talk to his mother via video conference.

The bench, which was facing difficulty in hearing the arguments due to connectivity issue, adjourned the matter for Wednesday.

"When we are adjourning the matter for detailed hearing for tomorrow, why are you making arguments now," the bench told Mathew. It asked Mehta to file medical records of Kappan by Wednesday to which the solicitor general agreed.

Kappan was arrested at a toll plaza near Hathras, while on his way to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh in October last year, in connection with his reporting assignment to cover the alleged gangrape and murder of a 19-year-old girl. An FIR had been registered under the UAPA in the case against Kappan by the Uttar Pradesh Police.

(With inputs from ANI and PTI)

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