SC stays sexual assault trial against actor Dileep

Gopalakrishnan Padmanabhan, better known by his stage name Dileep, was allegedly involved in a 2017 sexual assault case.

The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the proceedings against Malyalam actor Dileep in an actress assault case of February, 2017.

A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi suspended the proceedings against him, until the issue -- if memory card of a mobile phone could be described as a document to be provided to the accused to ensure fair trial-- was decided by the top court.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi represented the actor. 

Since the memory card was a part of the police document, it had to be provided to the accused under Section 207 of the Criminal Procedure Code, he said.

Rohatgi challenged the Kerala High Court's judgement, which ruled that the memory card was not a document, which can be provided to the accused. Secondly, the high court said it can't be released as it contained sensitive information which could harm the reputation of the victim.

“I have a constitutional right to the fair trial. If I get a copy of the memory card, I get to know its properties which would show that it contained a compendium of five to six clips,” the counsel submitted. 

He also maintained the other basis that it may harm reputation of the victim was immaterial.

He said the memory card of the alleged assault was filed before a magistrate by a lawyer as the original phone was still not recoverable.

According to the police, the actor had hatched conspiracy with the other accused to abduct the actress and take her nude photographs, as he harboured ill-feeling against her for spoiling his previous marriage. Dileep, who was arrested on July 10, was released on bail in October, 2018.

The court put the matter for consideration in July.

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