‘Provide security to rape victim’s family, others’
The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Jammu & Kashmir Government to provide “adequate” security to the Kathua rape and murder victim’s family, their lawyers, and the lawyers’ family in the face of death threats received from local lawyers and religious outfits.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra even demanded a response from the state authorities on the plea by the victim’s family to transfer the trial from Kathua to Chandigarh. Senior advocate Indira Jaising who appeared for the victim’s father claimed that in the prevailing hostile atmosphere there will not a fair trial and justice will be denied to the eight-year old victim. She, however, heaped praise at the investigation been conducted by Jammu and Kashmir police and prayed to Court that the investigation by the State police should continue.
The minor girl was allegedly held in captivity in a small village temple in the Kathua district of Jammu region by the eight accused for a week, during which she was kept sedated and raped several times before being beaten to death.
The bench, also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud took note of the threats faced by the petitioner’s lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat and one Talib Hussain, who was the link between the lawyer and victim’s family. Jaising said that situation in the State was “highly polarized” and even the lawyer had been threatened to quit from the case. The lawyer’s family too was facing threat, Jaising addd.
State counsel Shoeb Alam said that the victim’s family was already being provided security. He agreed that the lawyer, her family and the associate too can be provided similar security cover.
The bench said that it was only concerned about fair trial in the case and victim protection, both concepts that are central to administration of justice. As an added request, the bench allowed the victim’s family’s plea to have security personnel in plainclothes.
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