Supreme Court Stays Trial in Kathua Rape and Murder Case

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In a stern warning a day before, on Thursday, the apex court had said it would transfer the Kathua gangrape and murder case from the local court in Jammu and Kashmir in the "slightest possibility" of lack of fair trial, saying the "real concern" was to hold proper prosecution.

The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the trial of Kathua rape and murder case before sessions judge till next hearing which is scheduled on May 7. But advocate Harvinder Chaudhary who appeared for the accused said that police was hand in glove with vested interests to falsely implicate the accused.

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.

On April 13, the Supreme Court took serious note of the conduct of the lawyers at the court, and sought explanations from the BCI, J&K Bar Council, Jammu High Court Bar Association and Kathua District Bar Association. An inquiry into the conduct of lawyers of Kathua and Jammu may take the limelight away from the quest for justice for the victim.

To this end, the Court, on April 19, directed the BCI team set up to investigate the matter to submit a status report within three days. "The media has wrongly reported that the (two bar associations) are siding with the accused".

The victim's father has moved the top court seeking a transfer of trial from Kathua to Chandigarh.

Accused in Kathua gangrape-murder case moves SC for CBI probe
He said that a District Judge's report prepared following the obstruction caused to police was scathing against lawyers. Harish Uppal whereby the Apex Court has ruled the lawyers' strike as illegal.

The five member panel claimed to have visited the temple where the victim was raped and kept captive and also talked to judicial officers, lawyers, members of the Gujjar and Bakarwal community.

It has also found that Jammu Bar Association President BS Salathia did not threaten Rajawat; the Committee came to this conclusion after considering the statements of the woman members of the Bar.

The apex Court lawyers earlier argued that the demand for a CBI probe had more to do with efforts to influence the State police investigation, which led to the arrest of eight men.

While the family's counsel strongly objected to the BCI findings, the Bench said focusing on it would be a digression. "Let us be clear and focus on investigation and about the trial of the case".

The affidavit submitted by the Registrar General of J&K High Court Jammu Sanjay Dhar said that "reports were received on April 9, 2018 that some advocates of Kathua Bar Association had caused hindrance at the time of presentation of the challan".