An today lauded the Supreme Court for bypassing “the bail-denying feature of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act” to grant bail to journalist Siddique Kappan.
Crediting Chief Justice of India UU Lalit for not citing section 43D(5) of the UAPA, the editorial said: “The bail order demonstrates how a clear-headed approach can help judges relieve officials and political leaders of their smug belief that by invoking anti-terror laws, they can keep disfavoured accused in prison for long years without any basis.”
At the same time, the Hindu pointed out that it took two years of Kappan remaining in jail for the courts to act, noting that it “reflects poorly on the judiciary”.
“One should hope that this order will send a message down the judicial hierarchy,” the editorial added, “on how courts should not allow the police to persecute people through stringent laws.”
None of the other leading English newspapers carried editorials after Kappan was granted bail on September 9, after spending over 700 days in jail. The journalist had approached the Supreme Court after his bail petitions were rejected by a sessions court and the high court.
His wife Raihanath : “I was at court. I couldn't believe what I heard and couldn't hold back my tears.”
Kappan was arrested in October 2020 while on his way to Hathras to report on the gangrape and death of a Dalit woman. He was charged with sedition and under the UAPA, with the Uttar Pradesh government believing he is part of a larger conspiracy to “foment religious discord and spread terror in the country”.
Read on why the UP government opposed bail to Kappan.