Kathua case: J&K opposes victim's father plea for transfer of trial

Adjust Comment Print

It has been alleged that sub-inspector Anand Dutta and special police officer (SPO) Deepak Khajuria had destroyed evidence related to the rape and killing of the eight-year-old girl.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra assured that if it finds even the slightest possibility of lack of fair trial, it will transfer the case out of Kathua.

Two of the accused in case have opposed in the Supreme Court the plea for transfer of the trial from Kathua court to a court in Chandigarh.

The apex court has already asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to provide security to the family of the victim and their lawyer as well as family friends assisting them in the case.

The eight-year-old's father had moved court earlier, expressing apprehensions about a threat to the family and their lawyer Deepika Rajawat.

A Committee of the Bar Council of India (BCI) sent to probe the role of lawyers in the Kathua rape and murder case created a stir in the Supreme Court on Thursday by backing the demand of the local lawyers to transfer the case probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and justified their protest in this regard. Lawyer PV DInesh said that BCI has gone overboard and the report appears to be a complete "whitewash". The bench said it could examine the prospect of fast-tracking the trial and oversee the progress of the trial.

The apex court, after perusing the report, said it would not "digress" from the main issue of ensuring a fair trial, not only for the accused but also for the victim's family. "As the charge sheet was filed in Kathua, and the alleged obstruction, if any, caused in filing the same can be better explained by the members of District Bar Association, Kathua", it said. It said that even in cases where the rape victims were alive and were either minors or of unsound mind, their identities should not be revealed as they have the right to privacy and they can not live under such a "stigma" throughout their life. Rallies were held in support of the accused and lawyers at a Jammu court had objected to the filing of the chargesheet in the case. Her body was recovered a week later.

The Forum took strong exception to the observations of BCI exonerating Kathua lawyers of obstructing presentation of charge-sheet against the accused and termed it as a blatant lie coined under influence in sheer contrast to what the entire world witnessed through video clips, press-note and social media posts wherein Kathua lawyers have admitted thwarting presentation of the charge sheet in the Kathua Court. The minor girl, who belonged to a nomadic Muslim tribe, was allegedly abducted, drugged, gang-raped, tortured and killed in January.