Should Kathua trial be sent to Chandigarh, SC asks Jammu and Kashmir government

April 17, 2018 BREAKING NEWS 117 Views
Should Kathua trial be sent to Chandigarh, SC asks Jammu and Kashmir government

The Supreme Court on Monday sought the J&K government’s response to a petition filed by the Kathua rape-cum-murder victim’s father, who has sought shifting the trial to Chandigarh, alleging that the surcharged atmosphere in Kathua was not conducive for a fair trial.
Granting an urgent hearing to the victim’s father, Mohd Akhtar, who filed the petition on Monday morning through advocate Sunil Fernandes, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud took note of the alleged threats given to lawyers Deepika Singh Rajawat and Talib Hussain to dissuade them from assisting the victim’s family in the trial. It also asked the state government to deploy policemen in plain clothes to protect the victim’s family and the lawyers.
On the plea to transfer the case from Kathua to Chandigarh, the SC sought the state’s response by April 27. The trial court has fixed the next date of hearing for April 28.
Appearing for Akhtar, senior advocate Indira Jaising said the victim’s family was fully satisfied with the “methodical and scientific manner” in which the probe was conducted by the state police’s crime branch and contested senior advocate and Panthers Party chief Bhim Singh’s demand to transfer the probe to an independent agency.
The bench said it would not deal with the issue of probe by an independent agency as there was no allegation so far about the state police having misdirected itself in its task. “We will go by the principle of fair trial that involves conducive atmosphere at the trial venue, witness protection and fair representation given to parties through advocates. These are the three cardinal principles of fair trial,” the CJI said.
State government’s standing counsel M Shoeb Alam told the court that the victim’s family had already been provided police security. “Though the government has not yet received any complaint from the lawyers about threats to them, we are ready to take steps to give adequate protection to them and their families,” he said.
Jaising said the case was cracked on the basis of the confessional statement of a minor accused who was lodged in a juvenile home. “Security of the juvenile home where the minor accused is lodged must be made foolproof to prevent outsiders from influencing the minor,” she said. The SC accepted the plea and asked the state to beef up security at the juvenile home.(ToI)

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