SC keeps Kathua case in Jammu court, warns it should be a 'fair trial'
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to consider the plea of the two accused in Kathua gangrape and murder case that the trial be not transferred out of Jammu. Considering the complexity of the case, the apex court said its "real concern" was to see that a fair trial is conducted in the Kathua gangrape and murder case.
“Fair trial is the consideration and we are concerned with the interest of victim and accused... If we find slightest possibility of a lack of a fair trial, we will transfer the case out of Kathua,” the top court said. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said the trial should be fair not only for the accused but also for the victim’s family, and the protection to them and their lawyers should be ensured. The bench also considered the issue of alleged obstruction by lawyers in the administration of justice in the case and said, “If the lawyers are at fault, they would be dealt in accordance with the law.” It also ruled out a CBI probe and said it should be circumspect while transferring it to another agency. Two of the accused in the Kathua rape incident had strongly opposed in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, the plea for transfer of the trial from Kathua court to a court in Chandigarh.
The father of the eight-year victim girl had sought shifting of the case to ensure free and fair trial. Opposing shifting of trial outside Kathua court, two accused Sanji Ram and Vishal Jagotra said they have been falsely implicated in the case as accused 1 and 5 pending before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Kathua, where the charge sheet has already been filed. The applicants are directly affected if the trial is shifted outside Kathua without making them parties to the writ petition filed by victim’s father. The victim went missing while grazing horses in Rasana village of Hiranagar tehsil of J&K’s Kathua district on January 10. A week later, her body was found in woods near her village. The DNA and police investigations have revealed that she was held inside a local temple where she was drugged, raped and killed.