World Bulletin / News Desk
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was hearing the case of the gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir after her father had moved the apex court earlier, citing a threat to the family and their lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat.
He also sought transfer of the trial to Chandigarh from Kathua after the lawyers belonging to Kathua Bar Association held protests and stopped Crime Branch officials from entering the court when they went to file a charge sheet in the case.
The court remarked that the case will be transferred out of Kathua if they find even the slightest possibility of lack of fair trial.
The girl from nomadic Muslim herder family was grazing the cattle when she was kidnapped in January. A week later, her raped and mutilated body was found in Kathua.
According to the charge sheet filed by the Crime Branch officials in the case, the girl was gang raped thrice inside a temple. The girl was sedated, starved and gang-raped by a group of people which included police officers.
The rape and murder of the girl sparked outcry in India, after it was politicized by the ruling party.
Two ministers from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) defended the accused and were forced to resign after massive outrage.
Today, the apex court also agreed to consider a plea of two accused -- Sanji Ram and Vishal Jangotra -- who asked the court that the trial be held in Jammu and the probe be handed over to the federal investigating agency.
Meanwhile, the Bar Council of India told the apex court that the Jammu and Kashmir lawyers did not obstruct justice in the Kathua rape case and their demand for a CBI investigation into the matter is "justified".
A team of the council which went to the state has submitted a report that gave a clean chit to the lawyers, said a report in NDTV.
The apex court on April 13 took suo motu notice of the lawyers of Jammu and Kathua bar associations preventing the police from entering the court and preventing the family's lawyer from appearing in the case.