KATHUA RAPE-MURDER OF GIRL CHILD: SHOULDN’T SC TAKE SUO MOTU NOTICE OF LAWYERS’ BEHAVIOR?

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A group of lawyers in Jammu trying to prevent prosecution from filing charge-sheet in rape-murder case of Kathua girl child on 9 April 2018. (Photo – NDTV)

By trying to prevent the prosecution from filing the charge-sheet, were the lawyers using their democratic right to protest? As guardian of the legal fraternity in the country, the Supreme Court should take notice of lawyers’ behavior.

Caravan News

JAMMU: The charge-sheet in the brutal rape-murder case of an eight-year-old girl could be submitted with the Chief Judicial Magistrate at his residence on 9:30 PM on Monday, after a delay of full six hours. The delay was caused by none other than the people called lawyers.

A group of lawyers, led by president of Kathua Bar Association Kirti Bhushan Mahajan, physically prevented the prosecution from filing the charge-sheet at the CJM court in the afternoon. When the prosecution reached the residence of the judge to submit the charge-sheet after the court was over, the group of lawyers reached there too and created ruckus.

Rape-Murder of Eight-Year-Old Girl

The girl from the local Bakherwal Muslim tribal community had disappeared on January 10, when she was out grazing ponies in the Kathua district of the Jammu region. Her body was found in a wooded part of the village about a week later. Tests established that she was raped and was alive for at least three or four days after she went missing. She was kept in a temple, given sedatives and raped by several people, including an elderly man, his son and others and then they killed her.

On Monday (09 April), Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Crime Branch officials took all the seven accused to the CJM court in Kathua as the charge-sheet was to be filed. According to The Indian Express, at 4.25 PM, five minutes before the court was to close, the officials and Chief Prosecuting Officer Vikrant Sharma entered the retiring room of CJM Amarjit Singh Langeh, leaving the accused outside. Within minutes, dozens of lawyers entered the retiring room of the CJM and raised slogans against the Crime Branch. The judge, Crime Branch officials and Chief Prosecuting Officer went to the court room, but lawyers followed them and continued sloganeering. When the prosecution officials reached the judge’s residence, the lawyers gathered there also and tried to prevent the officials from filing the charge-sheet. Ultimately, the police was called in to control the lawyers and then the charge-sheet was filed and the judge sent the accused to judicial custody.

Who Are the Accused?

According to the English daily, the accused include retired revenue official Sanji Ram, his son Vishal and a minor nephew, Rasana resident Parvesh Kumar, Special Police Officers Deepak Khajuria and Surinder Kumar besides Assistant Sub Inspector Anand Dutta and Head Constable Tilak Raj. Dutta and Raj were arrested on charges of attempting to destroy evidence by washing the blood-stained clothes of the victim.

SC Should Take Notice of Lawyers’ Behavior

The way a group of Jammu lawyers tried to prevent the prosecution from filing the charge-sheet in the country’s one of the most heinous rape-murder cases, should not be ignored. At least, the Supreme Court of India, being guardian of the judicial fraternity in the country, must take suo motu notice of it.

Earlier, some local BJP lawmakers have also led protest demonstration against the arrest of accused in the same case, effectively giving a communal tone to the crime.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah strongly condemned the action of lawyers in a series of tweets Monday evening.

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