Kappan, who has been in custody in a jail in Mathura, had collapsed in the bathroom due to weakness and sustained serious injuries. He later tested positive for Covid-19. He was admitted to a Mathura hospital where he was “chained like an animal to a cot of the Medical College Hospital, Mathura, without mobility” and was unable to eat or visit the bathroom for over the four days besides being very critical, his wife claimed in the petition. Kappan was arrested in October 2020 while he was covering the Hathras gang-rape case in Uttar Pradesh
On April 25, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, 11 Members of Parliament from Kerala along with Kappan’s wife wrote to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana seeking the transfer of Kappan to a hospital in New Delhi from Mathura. Following this, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the state government to produce Kappan’s medical reports.
Kappan’s lawyer pointed out that Kappan was suffering from diabetes along with other medical problems and required medical supervision.
The state government said that since he tested negative for the virus on April 21, he was much better now.
While the apex court directed in favour of his transfer, it dismissed the bail plea filed by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists and Kappan’s wife.
On September 14, 2020, a 19-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly gang-raped and brutally assaulted by four upper-caste men in Hathras. She succumbed to her injuries on September 29, 2020 in New Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, which triggered massive outrage and protests across the country. She was hurriedly cremated by the Uttar Pradesh Police in the dead of the night the following day near her village. The rushed manner of the victim’s last rites, which her family alleged was done without their consent, caught the nation’s attention.
Kappan was arrested in October 2020 by the Uttar Pradesh Police for his alleged involvement with the Popular Front of India (PFI). He was reportedly found with material that would “breach peace” in the state and instigate violence. Kappan and three other alleged PFI members were booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and other serious charges.
During the hearing on Wednesday, the state government accused Kappan of being associated with PFI which “has been known to create public disorder by creating caste divide” and “anti-national activities” while “in contact with ISIS”.
While ordering Kappan’s transfer to AIIMS or Ram Manohar Lohia hospital or any other good hospital in New Delhi, the court mentioned that “after his treatment, he may be taken to approach the relevant court.”