Kathua rape case: SC refuses CBI probe

Kathua rape case: SC refuses CBI probe

People hold candles and placards during a protest against the rape of an eight-year-old girl, in Kathua, near Jammu, a teenager in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, and an eleven-year-old girl in Surat, Gujarat, in Ahmedabad. Reuters photo

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider a plea for CBI probe into the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl at Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir.

The court said it did not intend to go into that sphere at the moment and instead ensure security to the victim's family and counsel.

“We will go by principles of fair trial and victims' protection. We have sympathy for the victim's family. We are not going to determine at this stage who should investigate,” a three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said.

“Ordinarily, the police have an authority to probe. If the investigation is not going in the right direction, the court can intervene. Why should we entertain at this stage a plea that the investigation was not going in the right direction,” the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said.

The court's observation came on a plea by Delhi advocate Anuja Kapur seeking a CBI probe into the FIR registered on January 12, where the state crime branch filed a charge sheet against seven people, besides a separate report against a juvenile. Senior advocate Bhim Singh also sought direction to probe the matter by an independent agency.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising, representing the victim's father, submitted that fair trial was not possible as a “highly-polarised” atmosphere prevailed over there. “The police have already filed the charge sheet. They have done an excellent investigation, which I have not seen in my entire career,” she said, opposing the plea for the CBI probe.

The court, however, directed the Jammu and Kashmir government to continue providing security to the victim's family, their lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat and her associate, who apprehended threat to their lives in view of protests by the Kathua and Jammu bar members for purported targetting of a particular community. The bench also directed the state government to ensure that adequate security was provided to the juvenile accused.

It also issued a notice to the state government, seeking its response by April 27 on a plea by the victim's father to transfer the proceedings from a court in Kathua to Chandigarh or to any other place.

Bhim Singh contended that he belonged to the place and must be heard in the matter. He gave a written submission. Jaising, however, protested his intervention, saying it was not a public interest litigation. She also opposed his filing written submissions, saying it must be containing materials blaming the victim, which should not be permitted.

The court, however, tagged Kapur's plea along with a suo motu matter, arising out of protests by lawyers over there.

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