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SC pulls up Jammu lawyers, calls for fair trial in Kathua rape-murder case

New Delhi: Taking a serious view of the unruly and disruptive behaviour of Jammu lawyers in connection with the rape and murder of an eight year old bakerwaal girl in Kathua, the Supreme Court on Thursday pulled up the lawyers for obstructing the filing of charge sheet against the accused even as the lawyers claimed that their protest was on a different issue and not the said case.
As the lawyers tried to convince the apex court by reasoning that they were protesting on a different issue and it was misrepresented by the media, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud said, “We are not concerned with anything, we are concerned with a fair trial. You created a situation, police had to file the chargesheet at the residence of the magistrate.”
As the court was told that the protesting lawyers have retreated and assured that there would be no obstruction in the trial of the rape and murder case Justice Misra said “Whatever may be the background (of the protest), the resultant action was wrong.”
The bench observed, “You have a right to practice, not to strike and obstruct. Have you withdrawn the strike or not?” To this, the lawyers said they had called it off on April 12.
Rebuking the Jammu lawyers now in the dock, CJ Misra added, “Whatever may be the background [of the protest], the resultant action was wrong.”
The court directed the matter for further on April 26, asking all the parties to file their response about their incidence and the conduct of protesting lawyers.
Earlier, Bar Association told the Supreme Court that it did not support lawyers’ protest in connection with the Kathua gang rape and murder case.
Asking all the parties to file their response about their incidence and the conduct of protesting lawyers, the court directed the matter for further on April 26.
The Bar Council of India told the bench that they have constituted a team, headed by a former high court judge, which will visit Kathua to assess the situation relating to lawyers protest. Meanwhile, the Kathua District Bar Association said they had already withdrawn the strike on April 12.
The minor girl had disappeared from near her home in the forests next to Rasana village in Kathua, on January 10. Her body was found in the same area a week later.
The Crime Branch of police which probed the case filed a main charge sheet against seven persons and a separate charge sheet against a juvenile in a court in Kathua district earlier this week.
The charge sheet revealed chilling details about how the girl was allegedly kidnapped, drugged, raped inside a place of worship before being killed.