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Supreme Court hints at shifting case out of Jammu

28 April 2018

Expressing satisfaction with the probe conducted by the Jammu and Kashmir police in the case, the victim's father had sought transfer of trial from Kathua court to Chandigarh.

The accused said in their plea that Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees fair investigation as well as trial to the accused and it is absolutely necessary for preservation of fundamental right.

The CJI made the observation after the senior advocate appearing on behalf of Deepika Singh Rajawat, the lawyer for the victim's family, told the court that it must consider the plea for the transfer of the trial to ensure fairness.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said its "real concern" was to see that a fair trial was conducted.

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It said that during the hearing before the top court, the petitioner's counsel had reposed faith in the comprehensive probe carried out in the case by a special investigation team of the Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police.

Meanwhile, a fresh petition has been filed in the Jammu wing of the Jammu & Kashmir High Court seeking a CBI probe into the matter.

The apex court on April 13 took suo motu notice of the lawyers of Jammu and Kathua bar associations preventing the police from entering the court and preventing the family's lawyer from appearing in the case.

"A motivated and malicious campaign by some national media channels created an erroneous impression about the motives of the bandh call in Jammu by projecting the legal fraternity and also the people supporting bandh as pro-rapists which is factually incorrect and misleading as such denied", it added.

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At the outset, the Bar Council of India (BCI) Committee filed in a sealed cover a report before the apex court and supported the demand of the High Court Bar Association at Jammu and Kathua District Court Bar Association for a CBI probe into the case.

It also said security has been beefed up at the Juvenile Home, where an accused is now lodged. Read Also: Govt acts against rape, but make sons more responsible: Modi Since the sessions trials, according to procedures, the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) has accepted the charge sheet.

The case dates back to January when a minor girl belonging to the Sunni-Muslim nomadic Bakerwal Tribe was allegedly abducted, drugged, gang-raped, tortured and killed. Lawyer PV DInesh said that BCI has gone overboard and the report appears to be a complete "whitewash". The bench said if the lawyers who are accused of obstructing the trial are at fault then it would deal with the matter in accordance with the law. Her body was recovered a week later.

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Supreme Court hints at shifting case out of Jammu