Kathua Rape-And-Murder: Trial Begins, SC To Hear Two Pleas

Kathua—The trial in the gruesome Kathua rape and murder case began Monday against eight accused, while Supreme Court has agreed to hear two separate petitions on the issue.

The eight-year-old girl was kept in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district for a week in January this year during which she was kept sedated and sexually assaulted before being bludgeoned to death.

The chief judicial magistrate of Kathua will be committing one of the charge sheets, in which seven people have been named, to the sessions court for trial as mandated under the law. The chief judicial magistrate will, however, hold the trial for the juvenile as it is the designated court under the juvenile act, according to officials.

The Jammu and Kashmir government has appointed two special public prosecutors, for the trial in the sensitive case.

The trial court of Kathua, hearing the gruesome rape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl, Monday scheduled the next hearing to April 28. The court directed that chargesheet copies be provided to all the accused.

Meanwhile,  the Supreme Court today agreed to hear two separate petitions including the one filed by Kathua-based lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat, representing the family of an eight-year-old girl who was gangraped and killed, alleging that she was facing threat to her life for pursuing the matter.

Another plea filed by Delhi-based lawyer Anuja Kapur, seeks transfer of the sensational gangrape case from Kathua trial court to a local court in the national capital.

Kapur has also sought transfer of probe to the CBI, besides seeking exemplary compensation to the family of the victim of the case.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the submission advanced by senior advocate Indira Jaising, representing Rajawat and Kapur, for urgent hearing of the two petitions today itself.

“We have already passed the order on Friday,” the bench said.

Jaising responded by saying that the earlier notice was issued to the bar associations but the issue at present relates to the threat faced by local counsel Rajawat.

The bench then agreed to hear the petitions at 2 PM today itself.

The top court had on April 13 taken strong note of some lawyers obstructing the judicial process in the Kathua gangrape and murder case and initiated a case on its own record, saying such impediment “affects the dispensation of justice and would amount to obstruction of access to justice”.

The apex court had said that it is a settled law that a lawyer who appears for a victim or accused cannot be prevented by any bar association or group of lawyers, for it is his duty to appear in support of his client.

The minor girl had disappeared from near her home in the forests in Kathua, on January 10. Her body was found in the same area a week later.

The Crime Branch of police which probed the case filed a main charge sheet against seven persons and a separate charge sheet against a juvenile in a court in Kathua district.

Jammu has been on tenterhooks since the brutal incident. The bar associations have been opposing the action against the accused, alleging that the minority Dogras were being targeted.

Lawyers took to the streets shouting slogans and trying to block the road outside the court where the charge sheets have been filed.

Meanwhile,the eight people accused of raping and killing an eight-year-old pleaded not guilty and asked the judge for a narco analysis test as the trial into the case, which has become the focal point of outrage across the country, began here today.

Seven of the eight accused were produced before District and Sessions Judge Sanjay Gupta, who asked the state Crime Branch to give them copies of the chargesheet and fixed April 28 as the next date of hearing.

The eighth accused is a juvenile who moved a bail application before the chief judicial magistrate. The matter was posted for April 26. 

 

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