SC transfers Kathua rape-murder case to Pathankot court : The Tribune India

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SC transfers Kathua rape-murder case to Pathankot court

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday transferred the Kathua gang-rape and murder case to a Pathankot court in Punjab. It has ordered a day-to-day trial and protection for witnesses, accused and lawyers for the victim''s family.

SC transfers Kathua rape-murder case to Pathankot court

People hold candles and placards during a protest in Ahmedabad. Reuters file



Satya Prakesh

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 7 

The Supreme Court on Monday transferred the Kathua gang-rape and murder case to a Pathankot court in Punjab.

The SC has ordered a day-to-day trial and protection for witnesses, accused and lawyers for the victim's family.

The Bench clarified that day-to-day trial meant no adjournments during the trial. Examination-in-chief and cross-examination of witnesses have to be done without any break, it added.

After a 90-minute hearing, a three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra vacated the stay on the trial 

The Bench kept the issue of the CBI probe into the matter open and posted petitions on the issue for further hearing on July 9.

It also ordered protection for the lone juvenile accused in the case.

The court also directed the Kathua sessions court to send all the relevant files and documents relating to the case to the court in Pathankot.  

The Bench gave liberty to the state of Jammu and Kashmir to appoint public prosecutors to conduct trial in the case. The proceedings have to be conducted in accordance with the Ranbir Penal Code applicable to Jammu and Kashmir, the Bench said.

The Bench ordered the trial has to be an in-camera trial where only the accused, witnesses and lawyers concerned shall be there.

The statements recorded by the police in Urdu have to be translated into English and Hindi for the Pathankot Sessions Judge and accused, the Bench ordered.

Food for the witnesses and the accused has to be arranged by the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the top court ordered.

Faced with demands from victim’s family and accused for shifting of trial and investigation, respectively, the Supreme Court on April 27 stayed the trial in the Kathua gang-rape and murder case till May 7. While the biological father of the victim had sought transfer of the trial from Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir to Chandigarh, the accused had demanded that the probe be taken away from the state police and handed over to the CBI.

Earlier, it had hinted at transferring the case from Kathua if there was the "slightest possibility" of lack of fair trial. The "real concern" was to hold proper prosecution, it had noted.

The victim – an eight-year-old girl from a nomadic community had disappeared from near her home in a village in Kathua on January 10. Her body was found in the same locality a week later. The Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police had taken up the probe into the case on January 22 and filed a chargesheet against seven accused and a separate chargesheet against a juvenile accused in a court in Kathua district on April 9.

The minor girl was allegedly kidnapped, drugged and raped inside a place of worship before being killed, police had alleged.

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