SC stays trial in Kathua case

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra said it will deal with the pleas of the victim's father for shifting the trial and the plea by the accused for a CBI probe. (DH file photo)

The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the proceedings in the case of the gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl child in Kathua on January 10, in view of pleas for shifting the trial to Chandigarh and handing over investigation to the CBI.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra said it will deal with the pleas of the victim's father for shifting the trial and the plea by the accused for a CBI probe.

The bench posted the matter for further hearing on May 7.

During the hearing, the apex court witnessed heated exchanges between senior advocate Indira Jaising, who appeared for the victim's family, and advocate Harvinder Chaudhary, representing the accused.

Jaising said the case must be transferred to Chandigarh due to its proximity to Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir and the incidents of obstruction of police personnel by lawyers of the local court. 

Chaudhary, for her part, said his clients do not have faith in police investigation. She said the police was hand-in-glove with those with vested interests to falsely implicate the accused while the real culprits were someone else.

The counsel also questioned why the accused were not made parties to the plea for transfer of trial.

Advocate General Jahangir Iqbal Ganai, along with standing counsel Shoeb Alam, appearing for Jammu and Kashmir, opposed the prayer for a CBI probe and said the SIT of the crime branch was investigating the case.

Ganai said the trial could be shifted from Kathua to some other districts in the state as there were 221 witnesses and most of the statements recorded so far were in Urdu.

Alam said Jammu and Kashmir has its own penal law and if the trial is shifted to Chandigarh, then it may create several problems.

Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for the Centre, said the government was ready to provide any assistance on the request by the Jammu and Kashmir government.

On a plea by eight-year-old's father, the court had earlier ordered police protection to the family members. It had separately ordered for similar protection to their lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat and her associate.

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SC stays trial in Kathua case

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