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Friday, February 26, 2021

Chidambaram: Why are courts denying bail to Siddique Kappan, Munawar Faruqui?

Chidambaram tweeted, "Despite the judgment of the Constitution Bench (Justice Ravindra Bhat) and another Bench (Justice Chandrachud), why is the principle ‘Bail is the Rule and Jail is the Exception’ not being applied in every case?"

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: January 21, 2021 12:47:31 pm
P Chidambaram, Siddique Kappan, Munawar Faruqui, Chidambaram on court denying bail to munawar Faruqui, India news, Indian expressSenior Congress leader P Chidambaram. (File)

Former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram Thursday expressed his displeasure over the courts denying bail to Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan and stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui, saying “equality means equal access to justice and equal application of legal principles.”

Taking to Twitter, Chidambaram said, “Why are the courts denying bail to journalist Siddique Kappan and comedian Munawar Faruqui? Equality means equal access to justice and equal application of legal principles.”

“Despite the judgment of the Constitution Bench (Justice Ravindra Bhat) and another Bench (Justice Chandrachud), why is the principle ‘Bail is the Rule and Jail is the Exception’ not being applied in every case? he tweeted.

Faruqui, 28, was arrested along with Nalin Yadav, Prakhar Vyas, Priyam Vyas and Edwin Anthony on January 1 for “hurting religious sentiments” at a show in Indore. The arrests were made based on a complaint by Eklavya Gaud, the son of BJP MLA Malini Gaud. The next day, Faruqui’s friend Sadakat Khan was held when he went to meet him in court.

And last October, Kappan along with Atiq-Ur-Rahman, Masood Ahmed and Alam was arrested in Mathura  while on their way to Hathras, where a 19-year-old Dalit girl had been allegedly gangraped, leading to her death in a Delhi hospital.

Faruqui was booked under IPC Sections 295A (outraging religious feelings) and 269 (unlawful or negligent act likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life) among other charges.

Last Friday, the Indore police, after saying it has no evidence regarding the allegations against Faruqui, failed to produce a case diary before the Indore Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court at his bail hearing. Still, the case against the comedian now has six youngsters behind bars for more than a fortnight. Of the six, one is the brother of the show’s organiser who was in the audience, another a friend of Faruqui’s who had nothing to do with the event, and a third whose only family is a minor brother running around for him now.

An Indore Sessions Court has rejected all the bail petitions it has heard so far. After the adjournment Friday due to “non-availability” of police case diary, the High Court will take up Faruqui’s bail plea earliest by next week.

In Kapan’s case, the UP Police has claimed that the accused gathered funds to instigate riots on basis of caste “as they have done on basis of religion in protest of CAA”. The UP government had earlier submitted that the four were part of the Popular Front of India and former members of the Students Islamic Movement of India.

On January 9, a court in Hathras admitted an application of the UP Special Task Force (STF) to club two similar cases lodged against Kappan and three others. While one case was lodged against the four in Hathras, the other was lodged at Maat Police Station in Mathura. In both cases, provisions under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act as well as IPC provisions relating to sedition and attempt to promote enmity between different groups were invoked. According to the police, the four were part of a larger conspiracy to instigate caste riots.

They were booked under IPC sections 124-A (sedition), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, etc) and 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings), and provisions of the UAPA.

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