Kerala scribe Kappan’s case shifted to Mathura’s districts and sessions’ court
The additional district and sessions judge-I of Mathura will now hear the case of Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan and three others after an Agra court held that the chief judicial magistrate was not competent to hear the matter and to order the remand of the accused.
Madhuban Dutt Chaturvedi, the counsel for three of the accused, confirmed the orders passed by the district and sessions judge earlier this week.
“This transfer is the outcome of an application moved by the Special Task Force, heard and disposed of by the district and sessions judge. Interestingly, we too were challenging the jurisdiction of the chief judicial magistrate but our plea was rejected, earlier,” said Chaturvedi.
The transfer of the case took place in the light of the apex court judgement that no court except that of the sessions’ judge was authorised to hear a case of this nature.
Now, all the records and remand papers are to be transferred from the court of the chief judicial magistrate to the court of additional district and sessions judge.
Kappan and three others-- Atiqur Rahman, Aalam and Masood-- were arrested on the way to a village in Hathras to meet the family of a Dalit woman who was brutalised, gang raped and killed. They were arrested for alleged links with the notorious radical Muslim organisation, the Popular Front of India, and initially booked for breach of peace and later under various provisions of the IPC and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The case is being probed by the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) after it was handed over by the crime branch of Mathura. The STF had moved the application on which the transfer of the case took place.
Kappan is the secretary of the Delhi unit of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists –KUWJ, which approached the Supreme Court seeking Kappan’s immediate release.
KUWJ claims Kappan’s arrest was illegal and an attempt to silence the media. However, the UP government alleges Kappan’s association with the now-banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and the PFI and has submitted to the apex court that the Delhi unit of KUWJ was itself facing a vigilance inquiry over embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds following a Kerala high court order.