Transfer of Kathua rape case: SC stays trial till May 7


A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud had taken cognizance of the developments and said that impeding the process of law "affects the delivery of justice". The lawyers were seeking a CBI probe into the Kathua rape and murder case and transfer of the trial outside the J&K town.

"The trial Court in Kathua can't proceed ahead with the trial till further orders from Supreme Court but there is no legal bar on Crime Branch to file a supplementary charge-sheet against the accused before the trial court", Ganai said.

The Supreme Court April 27 stayed the trial in the rape and murder of a young girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir, asking the accused to respond to a plea for a transfer of trial to Chandigarh.

However, a Committee of the Bar Council of India (BCI) has found that these reports were false, and that lawyers of the Jammu Bar Association and the Kathua Bar Association did not restrict officials of the Crime Branch from submitting the chargesheet in the case to the Chief Judicial Magistrate, as was reported.

During the hearing, the court witnessed heated exchanges between senior advocate Indira Jaising, who appeared for the victim's family, and advocate Harvinder Chaudhary, who was representing the accused. "In such a surcharged atmosphere, there is no hope of a fair trial", she said. "If we do, the victim goes away from our attention", the CJI said.

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Jaising argued that the "requirements of a fair trial entail no intimidation on the presiding judge and no hooliganism by lawyers". They can't choose the investigating authority.

Earlier this month, the Bench took suo motu cognisance of a written submission handed over by a group of apex Court advocates informing the Court that Kathua lawyers had opposed the filing of the charge sheet in the case.

The court will deal with the prayer of the victim's father for shifting the trial to Chandigarh and the plea of the accused seeking handing over the probe to CBI.

In its report, the BCI said lawyers did not obstruct Court proceedings and the media had misreported the incidents. The case regarding the report about the conduct of Jammu and Kathua lawyers by the Bar Council of India will come up for hearing in the month of July this year.

The child from a minority nomadic community had disappeared from near her home in a village near Kathua in Jammu region on January 10.