The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the government to shift arrested journalist Siddique Kappan from Mathura Jail to a government hospital in Delhi, LiveLaw .
Kappan, who is Covid positive, is to be given medical treatment at AIIMS or Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital or any other government hospital in Delhi, the court said. After his recovery, he will be sent back to Mathura Jail.
The Supreme Court bench, comprising Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and AS Bopanna, was hearing a habeas petition filed by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists. According to LiveLaw, the CJI-led bench disposed of the writ petition and said that after his treatment, Kappan could approach the relevant court.
“If his health is complicated, he’s also confined to the relief that he wants a better treatment. Let him be admitted to a better hospital,” the court said. “This is in the interest of the state as well. We want to protect him to the extent of his health issues.”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued against Kappan’s transfer to a Delhi hospital, saying that shifting him to Delhi "would be injustice to lakhs and thousands” and that he didn’t want “honest tax payers of Mathura to fund this.”
He also said that there are several people in Mathura and UP not getting beds. “This is a man who is refusing to go to the relevant court," Mehta declared. "He is adamant in fighting with this association...Thousands of honest tax payers are getting treatment in Mathura hospital. People with serious health problems are getting treatment in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Why should the accused get a special treatment just because a so-called association of journalists has filed a habeas corpus petition? Why should an accused who associated with banned organisations get preferential treatment over honest tax payers?"
Advocate Wills Mathews, appearing for Kappan’s wife and the journalists’ union, told the bench that Kappan had been chained in the Mathura hospital and was so weak that he had collapsed in the washroom.
Kappan was , when he was on his way to report on the gangrape and murder of a Dalit girl by four upper caste Thakur men in Hathras. He was subsequently booked under the anti-terror law UAPA and sedition and has been in jail ever since.
Kappan’s wife Raihana had also written to the CJI, alleging that Kappan was “chained like an animal” to a bed in a Mathura hospital. On April 25, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Adityanath seeking his intervention in Kappan’s treatment. The same day, 11 Kerala MPs wrote to Justice NV Ramana asking for an "urgent hearing" on Kappan's case.