Family's Lea For Hathras Trial in Delhi
Family's lea for Hathras trial in Delhi
KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 10/16/2020 10:52:07 AM
NEW DELHI, Oct 15: Advocate Seema Kushwaha, appearing for the Hathras
victim's family, urged the Supreme Court to let the trial be held in
Delhi after the CBI investigations are complete in the gangrape and
murder of a teenage Dalit girl.
The Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde, rose for the lunch without passing an order after 90 minutes of submissions by various lawyers on how to tackle the matter that has created a nationwide concern. Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian were the two other judges on the Bench. The lawyers waiting for the court decision were told that the Bench has reserved the order, while leaving it up to the Allahabad High Court to oversee the ongoing CBI probe.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising said: "We want intensive monitoring of the case by a constitutional court. We want a special PP (Public Prosecutor) to be appointed. We are not satisfied by witness protection granted by the UP Government, but want it by the CRPF. The victim's family has grievances against the state government."
Appearing for the Director General of Police of Uttar Pradesh, senior advocate Harish Salve said: "Whoever wants the protection to be handed over to the CRPF, we are fine with that but let that not be a reflection on the UP Police. My Lords may clarify that." The CJI agrees to the suggestion.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves pleaded for a court-monitored SIT (special investigation team) to probe, not the CBI.
Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra appears for one of the accused. He urged the court to restrain the victim's family from dispensing with details of the investigations since otherwise "I will not get a fair trial." The CJI told him to go to the High Court, saying "we are not entertaining this."
Jaising objected to Luthra's appearance in the case, saying he should not be allowed to be heard since he is for the accused. "This is between us and the Court. How can the accused be heard during a pendency of the investigation?"
Referring to the family lawyer's plea for the trial in Delhi, she said: "We do not expect a fair trial in the state of UP. Investigation has been botched up completely and the FIR does not even have a number."
She also referred to the Unnao gang rape case of 2017, in which former BJP MP Kuldeep Singh Sengar was sentenced to life term last December. "There the victim died, here the victim has already died. We don't know how many more people in the family are safe. It is critical for the trial to be transferred out of Uttar Pradesh."
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the government is not adversarial to the family's request for the Lordship to supervise the probe. The CJI says that supervision can be done by the High Court and the family can come to the Apex Court if there is any problem.
When Jaising prayed for transferring the trial from Allahabad to Delhi, the CJI asked: "But where is the application for transfer? Not before us." Jaising said the family lawyer, Kushwaha, has already filed it. Perhaps it did not reach on time for the SC registry to put it before the court.
Advocate Aparna Bhatt, appearing for an organisation, was stunned when the Solicitor General interjected that "no one should be allowed to collect money in the name of this case." She refuted the charge, obviously levelled against her, since the S-G's intervened just when she started arguing. She said the FIRs have been filed in the case as also against the cremation carried out at the dead of the night. She adopted Jaising's arguments.
A number of other lawyers also wanted to make submissions, but the CJI rose for the lunch, concluding the hearing, and reserving the order to be passed later.