the Allahabad High Court asked for the answer of Government of Uttar Pradesh on the bail plea filed by Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan in the context of sedition, UAPA case registered against him in the alleged Hathras conspiracy case and which is pending before the NIA tribunal in Lucknow.
The bench of Judge Rajesh Singh Chauhan scheduled the case for the next hearing on March 14 and he categorically clarified that if the counter affidavit is not filed by the UP government, the bail application will be heard and finally decided on the basis of the elements available in the file and the arguments thus put forward by the lawyers for the parties.
The Court also rejected AGA’s argument raising a preliminary objection regarding the maintainability of the bail application at the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court.
Essentially, it was AGA’s argument that the FIR was filed in Mathura District and the investigation was also conducted there, therefore, this bail application should have been filed in the High Court sitting in Allahabad.
In response to this, the Court, after considering the submissions of Kappan’s lawyer, Ishan Baghel, said that since the trial of the case against Kappan is taking place in Lucknow, the immediate request for out on bail was likely to be entertained in Lucknow.
The case against Kappan in the NIA court in Lucknow
It may be noted that in December 2021, a local court in Mathura had transferred the Sedition, UAPA case registered against Kappan and seven others in the alleged Hathras conspiracy case to a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Lucknow .
Kappan and others face charges under sections 17 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), sedition (S. 124-A IPC), promoting enmity between different groups on the basis of religion (S. 153-A IPC), willful and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings (S. 295-A CPI) and Articles 65, 72 and 75 of the Computer Law.
Previously, Uttar Pradesh did not have a designated court for UAPA cases, but the UP government on 20 April 2021 designated a court in Lucknow as a special NIA court.
It should be noted that, pursuant to subsection (4) and section 22 of the NIA Act, from the date on which the special court is constituted by the state government, the trial of any offense making the investigation by the State Government under the provisions of this Act, which should have been held before the Special Court, shall be transferred to that Court on the date of its constitution.
The background to the case against Kappan
The accused [Atiqur Rahman, Masood Ahmed and Alam, and Siddique Kappan] were arrested by Maan Police on the above charges while traveling to Hathras in 2020.
Initially, they were arrested for fear of undermining public order and were brought before a court of the sub-prefect who remanded them in police custody.
They were subsequently arrested under the UAPA, alleging he and his co-passengers were attempting to incite community riots and disrupt social harmony following the Hathras gang rape case. .
They were taken into custody and in April 2021, eight people linked to the Popular Front of India, including student wing leader KA Rauf Sherif and Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, were charged by the group with uttar pradesh police special work in court here. for sedition, criminal association, financing of terrorist activities and other offences.
Case title – Sidhique Kappan c. State Of UPThru.Prin.Secy.Home Lko.