New DelhiThe Supreme Court on Thursday pulled up Jammu lawyers for obstructing the filing of charge sheet in the Kathua minor rape and murder case even as they claimed they were protesting on a different issue.
“We are not concerned with anything, we are concerned with fair trial. You created a situation, police had to file the charge sheet at the residence of the magistrate,” said a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud.
The lawyers insisted that they were protesting on a different issue that got mixed up with the filing of the charge sheet
“Whatever may be the background (of the protest), the resultant action was wrong,” Justice Misra said as the court was told that the protesting lawyers have retreated and assured that there would be no obstruction in the trial of the rape and murder of the eight-year-old victim from the Bakerwal community in Jammu’s Hiranagar area.
Asking all the parties to file their response about their incidence and the conduct of protesting lawyers, the court directed the matter for further on April 26.
The Jammu High Court Bar Association said that it did not support lawyers’ protest in connection with the Kathua gangrape and murder case.
The Kathua District Bar Association also told the bench that they have already withdrawn the strike on April 12 itself.
Advocate Shoeb Alam, appearing for the state opposed the tagging of plea filed by the victim’s father, who is seeking the transfer of case from Kathua to Chandigarh, with the suo motu matter related to lawyers’ protest there.
The bench, while clarifying that the administration of justice can’t be interfered with, asked the Jammu High Court Bar Association, BCI and others to file their affidavits by April 24 and listed the matter for hearing in the next week.
The apex court had on April 13 took serious note of lawyers obstructing the judicial process in the Kathua gangrape and murder case and initiated a case on its own accord, saying such impeding of the process of law “affects the delivery of justice”.
The top court had said that lawyers’ bodies have solemn duty to not obstruct advocates representing the accused or the victims’ family in the courts.
The minor girl had disappeared from near her home in the forests next to Rasana village 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 earlier this week.
The charge sheet revealed chilling details about how the girl was allegedly kidnapped, drugged, raped inside a place of worship before being killed.
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.
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