The Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) urgently moved a habeas corpus petition in the Supreme Court on Monday for a direction to the Uttar Pradesh Police to produce its secretary and journalist Sidhique Kappan before the court and release him from illegal detention.
Mr. Kappan was arrested en route to Hathras where a 19-year-old was brutally raped and murdered. His whereabouts are not known. Mr. Kappan, who is based in Delhi, has not been able to contact his family and colleagues, KUWJ said. Efforts to reach him have been futile so far.
The petition, filed by advocate Shweta Garg and settled by advocate Wills Mathews, has arraigned the Centre, U.P. government, Director General of Police of U.P. and the Delhi Police Commissioner as respondents.
“Media is the breath of democracy. The ultimate test of democracy is freedom of speech and expression,” the petition said.
It submitted that denial of access to journalists to the place of news affects the fundamental right of ordinary citizens to gain information. Journalists require a “dignified and democratic working atmosphere,” it said.