Kathua rape case: provide security to victim's family and lawyer, SC tells J&K govt.

Advocate Deepika Rajawat addresses the media after a Supreme Court hearing on the Kathua rape case.

Advocate Deepika Rajawat addresses the media after a Supreme Court hearing on the Kathua rape case.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

Amid growing clamour for transfer of the Kathua rape case investigation to the CBI, the victim's father praised the Jammu and Kashmir police investigators in the Supreme Court on Monday for doing a "thorough" job.

The court said its entire focus was on fair trial for the eight-year-old victim and her family. As an interim measure, it ordered plainclothes police cover for the victim's family and her lawyer, Deepika Singh Rajawat.

In its order, the court termed the abduction, rape and murder of the child "brutal".

Appearing before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, the victim's father urged the court to transfer the trial from Jammu to Chandigarh.

The court asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to respond to this plea. It posted the case for April 27, a day before the Kathua Chief Judicial Magistrate court is scheduled to hear arguments on the charge sheet.

'Atmosphere polarised'

Senior advocate Indira Jaising, for the father, said the atmosphere was so "polarised" that a fair trial for the victim would be impossible.

Ms. Jaising clarified that the family only wanted the trial to be conducted in Chandigarh, and the Jammu and Kashmir Crime Branch team to continue its investigation into the case.

"We are pleased to see the State support us. In my career I have never seen a State so supportive. The police have done a good job. All accused have been forensically and physically identified. This is the kind of investigation that they want to derail," she said adding that the family wanted fair trial and not compensation.

State counsel Soyaib Alam said the State had "no problem" in providing security. "Five policemen are already with the family, who are moving up the mountains. We will provide adequate security to the family. We have no problem with providing security for their lawyer," he submitted.

Security for juvenile accused

The court further asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to consider the security of the juvenile accused in the case. This accused is lodged in a juvenile home.

"We have asked for this because it was on his testimony that the entire case turned," Ms. Jaising submitted.

Last week, the Supreme Court took suo motu cognisance of alleged efforts of some local lawyers to obstruct the filing of the charge sheet in the case.

The High Court Bar Association in Jammu had also gone on strike against the filing of the charge sheet.

The CJI had said it was the duty of a lawyer to stand in support of the litigant and not engage in activities to obstruct justice. "Any obstruction affects the dispensation of justice."

The Kathua crime has shocked the conscience of the nation owing to the brutality unleashed on the child by her attackers.

The victim has been missing since January 10. On January 17, her mutilated body was found, bearing the marks of gang rape.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2020 3:31:38 PM |

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