In a stern warning, the Supreme Court today said it would transfer the Kathua gangrape and murder case from the local court in Jammu and Kashmir in the “slightest possibility” of lack of fair trial, saying the “real concern” was to hold proper prosecution.
The observations by a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra came amid a report filed by a Bar Council of India (BCI’s) committee which supported the demand of the lawyers’ body there for a CBI probe in the matter saying the bar associations in Kathua had not obstructed the police or the counsel representing the victim’s family in any manner.
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.
SC to consider Kathua accused’s plea to transfer probe to CBI
The Supreme Court today agreed to consider a plea of two accused in the gangrape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua that the trial in the case be held in Jammu and the probe handed over to the CBI.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the plea of the accused, Sanji Ram and Vishal Jangotra, that they be impleaded as parties to the petition filed by the victim’s father.
The eight-year-old’s father had moved the apex court earlier, apprehending a threat to the family, a friend and their lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat.
Expressing satisfaction with the probe conducted by the Jammu and Kashmir police in the case, the father had also sought transfer of the trial from Kathua court to Chandigarh.
However, the accused are asking for the opposite, seeking a CBI probe and a trial in Kathua district itself.
The child from a minority nomadic community had disappeared from near her home in a village near Kathua in Jammu region on January 10. Her body was found in the same area a week later.
The state police’s Crime Branch, which probed the case, filed the main chargesheet against seven persons and a separate charge sheet against a juvenile in a court in Kathua district last week. The chargesheet revealed chilling details about how the girl was allegedly kidnapped, drugged and raped inside a place of worship before being killed.