SC says fair trial main concern in Kathua case

The Supreme Court on Thursday made it categorically clear that it would transfer the case of gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl child in January from a court in Jammu and Kashmir in the "slightest possibility" of lack of fair trial.

A bench, presided over by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, said that there should not be digression from the concern of fair trial in the matter, as a Bar Council of India (BCI's) committee headed by former high court judge Justice Tarun Agarwal supported the demand of a CBI probe in the matter.

The BCI also denied the charge that the bar associations in Kathua had 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.

The bench, also comprising justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said its constitutional obligation was to ensure a fair trial and proper legal assistance to the victim's family as well as the accused, along with protection to them and their lawyers.

The panel maintained that the media "misrepresented" the facts while the demand of Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association and Kathua District Bar Association for a CBI probe in the matter "appears to be justified".

Advocate Shoeb Alam, appearing for the state, opposed the committee's report and maintained that the police team was reportedly heckled by the lawyers, due to which they could not file the chargesheet in the trial court.

Advocate P V Dinesh, who earlier asked the top court for suo motu consideration of the matter, contended that the BCI's committee had gone beyond its brief.

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SC says fair trial main concern in Kathua case

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