08, May 2018 | CJP Team
On May 7, 2018, the Indian Supreme Court issued an order directing that the Kathua gang-rape and murder case be transferred outside Jammu and Kashmir. The case where an eight year old Muslim Bakarwal girl was kidnapped, drugged, raped and murdered in Kathua in Jammu in January, will now be heard by a District Judge in Pathankot, Punjab.
The SC has also ordered Pathankot’s District & Sessions Judge to fast-track the trial and take it up on a day-to-day basis to ensure it is not delayed. Jammu and Kashmir has been granted the liberty to appoint the Public Prosecutor for the case. To ensure that the witnesses feel protected, and the accused feel secure, the trial will be held in camera as per the order. Since the SC is monitoring this case, no court will be allowed to entertain any petition in relation to the case.
CJP welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision to move this trial out of J&K. We believe that if the trial takes place in a time-bound manner and if adequate security is provided to the victim’s family and lawyers, there will surely be #JusticeForOurChild Join CJP and help us further our quest for Criminal Justice Reforms and Child Rights.
In its order, the court has directed the transferee court to proceed under the Ranbir Penal Code, since it applies to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The order directs the translation of witness statements from Urdu, in which they were recorded, to English, and provide the requisite number of interpreters to properly record witness depositions and provide translations. Under the order, Jammu and Kashmir is responsible for transporting witnesses to Pathankot and supplying necessary facilities, including food. Lastly, the order directs that the juvenile accused should be dealt with in accordance with the law and should be given all special care and protection as per the command of the law.
The court, in its order, notes that Advocate Indira Jaising, for the petitioner, advanced several submissions. It cites 1979’s Maneka Sanjay Gandhi vs. Rani Jethmalani to highlight the need for a fair trial and note that for the court to exercise its power of transfer, “something more substantial, more compelling, more imperilling from the point of view of public justice and its attendant environment, is necessitous”. The order also cites the case to note that court proceedings are increasingly disrupted and that this obstructs justice.
The entire order transferring the Kathua rape and murder case to Pathankot, may be read here: