The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Uttar Pradesh government to shift journalist Siddique Kappan to a hospital in Delhi, like the Ram Manohar Lohia or the AIIMS.

A Bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, Justices Surya Kant and A.S. Bopanna directed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the State, to shift Mr. Kappan to a Delhi hospital for “proper medical treatment”.

The order came despite serious objections raised by Mehta on behalf of the State. Mehta said Kappan was found COVID-negative in an RT-PCR test and he cannot be singled out among other inmates for treatment in a hospital in Delhi. He said he could be kept in a hospital in Mathura. He said there were hundreds of other inmates with or without co-morbidities.

But the Bench pointed out that the plea concerned the health of a man. The Bench said the State has an obligation to protect the health of an individual. It said it was not going into anything except that Kappan received medical treatment in a hospital outside U.P.

Once he is sound of health, the court said, he would be brought back to Mathura jail, from where he could take appropriate measures for relief in accordance with the law, the Bench noted.

At one point, Mehta said the beds in Delhi hospitals were full. “I cannot request any Covid-19 positive patient to vacate his bed for a Covid-19 negative patient,” the Solicitor General submitted. However, the Bench stood firm and asked him to make the arrangements to shift Kappan to a Delhi hospital.

The Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) alleged that Kappan has been chained to a cot in the hospital he was admitted to, after falling in the bathroom and later testing positive for Covid-19.


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