SC or­ders po­lice pro­tec­tion to vic­tim’s fam­ily, lawyer

Agrees to con­sider fa­ther’s plea to shift rape case trial out­side state

The Asian Age - - Front Page - J. VENKATESAN

While agree­ing to con­sider the plea of the fa­ther of the eight- year- old vic­tim of Kathua rape and mur­der for shift­ing the trial out­side J& K, the Supreme Court on Mon­day asked the state po­lice to con­tinue the pro­tec­tion be­ing granted to the vic­tim’s fam­ily, and to pro­vide pro­tec­tion to lawyer Deepika Singh Ra­jawat, who is ap­pear­ing for the vic­tim’s fam­ily, as well as the coun­sel as­sist­ing the fam­ily.

A three- judge bench is­sued no­tice to the state on the pe­ti­tion of Mohd. Akhtar, vic­tim’s fa­ther, seek­ing trans­fer of the trial to a court in Chandi­garh as the at­mos­phere in Kathua is not con­ducive for fair trial.

The Supreme Court on Mon­day asked the J& K po­lice to con­tinue the pro­tec­tion be­ing granted to the fam­ily mem­bers of the eight- year- old girl, who was bru­tally gan­graped and mur­dered at Kathua in the state, along with their lawyer and a friend as­sist­ing them in pur­su­ing the case.

The top court also agreed to con­sider the vic­tim’s fa­ther plea seek­ing trans­fer of the trial of the case out­side Jammu and Kash­mir, prefer­ably to Chandi­garh.

A three- judge Bench of Chief Jus­tice Di­pak Misra and Jus­tices A. M. Kan­wilkar and D. Y. Chan­drachud also di­rected the state to pro­vide pro­tec­tion to the lawyer Deepika Singh Ra­jawat who is ap­pear­ing for the vic­tim’s fam­ily and the coun­sel as­sist­ing the fam­ily.

he bench is­sued no­tice to the state on the pe­ti­tion from Mohd Akhtar, vic­tim’s fa­ther, seek­ing trans­fer of the trial out­side Kathua court to a court in Chandi­garh on the grounds that the at­mos­phere in Kathua was not con­ducive for fair trial.

The bench posted the mat­ter for fur­ther hear­ing on April 27.

The mi­nor girl, aged about eight years, was ab­ducted, raped and mur­dered in the Kathua district of Jammu re­gion in Jan­uary this year. A chargesheet have been

filed in the court of chief ju­di­cial mag­is­trate, Kathua, state of Jammu and Kash­mir.

Indira Jais­ing, se­nior coun­sel for the pe­ti­tioner, sub­mit­ted that a fair trial is an in­sep­a­ra­ble facet of Ar­ti­cle 21 of the Con­sti­tu­tion, and there is an ap­pre­hen­sion in the mind of the pe­ti­tioner, the bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther of the vic­tim, that there would be no fair trial inas­much as there has been protest by the mem­bers of the Bar and fur­ther there may be is­sues re­lat­ing to wit­ness pro­tec­tion.

Coun­sel also said that there should be pro­tec­tion for the vic­tim as well as the lawyer who has a right to pro­tect the in­ter­est of the vic­tims in the Court. She, how­ever, said she had faith in the state po­lice, which had con­ducted a bril­liant in­ves­ti­ga­tion lead­ing to fill­ing of chargesheet, and there was no need for trans­fer of the case to the CBI.

Coun­sel Shoeb Alam for the state sub­mit­ted that the vic­tim’s fam­ily had al­ready been granted po­lice pro­tec­tion and the lawyer would also be pro­vided pro­tec­tion.

Jais­ing pleaded that the trial should be trans­ferred from Kathua to a lo­cal court out­side the state, prefer­ably in Chandi­garh. The bench posted the mat­ter for fur­ther hear­ing on April 27.

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