SC says 'no' to shifting of rape trial from Delhi
Lawyer not authorised by the accused to represent him
The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking direction to transfer the Delhi gang-rape case, outside the national capital after noting that the lawyer, who made the plea, was no longer authorised by the accused to represent him.
A three-judge bench presided by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir relied upon a report forwarded to the court by the trial judge stating that accused Mukesh had denied having given any authorisation in favour of advocate M L Sharma.
Sharma had filed the transfer petition on behalf of one of five accused Mukesh on the ground of strong sentiments against the accused in view of huge media coverage. He was countered by advocate V K Anand who claimed that Sharma was not authorised by the accused to represent him.
The bench had last week sent the matter to trial court to find out from the accused as to who was his counsel.
The apex court’s order would now ensure that the trial continue in Delhi only. Sharma, however, pleaded that he should be allowed as an independent person to present his views. The court rejected his plea saying in view of the facts of the case and denial of any authorisation by the accused, Sharma could not be allowed to represent the accused. Meanwhile, Delhi Police may move court against the Juvenile Justice Board’s declaration that the youngest accused in the case is a minor.
According to sources, police are seeking legal opinion on challenging the JJB order. On Monday, the JJB had declared the accused as “juvenile” on the basis of his date of birth mentioned in his school certificate.
The certificate mentions the date of birth as June 4, 1995 which makes the accused 17 years and six months old when he took part in the gang rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapist. He is said to have been the “most brutal” of all the accused in the case. Section 15G of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act mandates that a juvenile aged between 16 and 18, if convicted of any offence, can be sent to a special home for three years at the maximum, and thereafter be released on probation.
However, Section 16 of the Act also states that a juvenile can be kept at a special home till he or she is 18 years old, and cannot be sent to jail