Supreme Court Stays Trial in Kathua Rape and Murder Case

Kathua case: Lawyers did not obstruct police from filing chargesheet, Bar Council of India tells SC

A Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice DY Chandrachud and the newly sworn-in Justice Indu Malhotra directed the trial listed for Saturday in Kathua be stayed and posted 7 May as the next date of hearing of the pleas.

The CJI, who is leading a three-Judge Bench, made the remarks after a Bar Council of India (BCI) committee, led by former High Court Chief Justice Tarun Agarwala, filed a confidential report in the Supreme Court stating that lawyers' protests demanding a CBI enquiry into the case is "justified". The chargesheet revealed chilling details about how the girl was allegedly kidnapped, drugged and raped inside a place of worship before being killed.

She alleged that the police was hand-in-glove with vested interests to falsely implicate the accused while the real culprits were someone else. But the BCI trashed all allegations in its report. It issued a notice to the bar council and the bar associations of Kathua and Jammu, which had reportedly supported the lawyers during the incident.

In occupied Kashmir, the High Court Bar Association (HCBA) has expressed its surprise over the report submitted by the Bar Council of India (BCI) before the Indian Supreme Court.

Earlier, the eight-year-old's father had moved the apex court, apprehending threat to the family, a friend and their lawyer Deepika Rajawat.

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In its report, the BCI team concluded that the lawyers in Kathua did not restrict any official of the Crime Branch from filing the chargesheet before the court.

A senior police officer said the police case against Kathua lawyers would be processed and the BCI report would not have any impact on it.

"Majority of the lady advocates of the Bar Association categorically submitted that they looked upon the President of the Bar Association as a fatherly figure and that there was no question of the President threatening Ms Dipika Singh Rajawat", the report read. One is whether the case can be taken over by the CBI and second if we should transfer the matter out of the state.

The apex court had yesterday given a stern warning and said it would transfer the Kathua gangrape and murder case from the local court in the "slightest possibility" of lack of fair trial, saying the "real concern" was to hold proper prosecution.

Alam told the court that the Jammu and Kashmir government had turned down the accused persons' plea for transferring the probe to the CBI as the state had conducted a fair and in-depth investigation and had already filed the chargesheet.

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