Agrees to consider father’s plea to shift rape case trial outside state.
New Delhi: 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.
The 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.