Kerala Union of Working Journalists v. Union of India

Citation – Writ Petition (Crl.) No(S). 307 of 2020

Court – Supreme Court of India

Bench – A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramania

“The Hon’ble Supreme Court, in this case, held that the fundamental right to life is available to undertrial prisoners as well.”

Facts of the Case

The writ petition was filled by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists association as habeus corpus under article 32 of the constitution of India. SidhiqueKappan, a journalist and a member of the Petitioner Association Kerala Union of Working Journalist, was detained illegally on 5.10.2020 without serving any notice or order as envisaged under Section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Cr.P.C.). SidhiqueKappan, along with his associates, were going to Hathras (U.P.) to report a gruesome case of rape and murder of a young girl at the time of detention.

Issues

Is the Court limited to providing adequate health care to the accused, in line with the limited relief?

Laws Applied

  1. Article 32, the constitution of India
  2. Article 226, Constitution of India
  3. Section 482 CRPC
  4. Section 107 CRPC

Judgement of the Court

After hearing both sides, the Supreme Court decided that it is necessary to provide adequate and effective medical assistance to him, and that it would be in the best interests of justice to transfer SidhiqueKappan – the arrestee – to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), or any other Government Hospital in Delhi for proper medical treatment.

The Court stated in giving the judgment that the most important fundamental ‘right to life’ unreservedly embraces even an undertrial, and that Sidhique Kappan would be returned to Mathura Jail as soon as he recovers, and the doctors declare him fit to be released. In the meantime, Sidhique Kappan is free to seek suitable legal relief from the respective courts, such as the grant of bail, the challenge of the proceedings, or the quashing of the charge sheet.

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