The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to consider the plea of two accused in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua.
The plea was filed in order to seek permission to hold the trial in Jammu itself. Accused Sanji Ram and Vishal Jangotra have also urged to hand over the probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The family of the eight-year-old, however, is asking for the opposite, seeking a probe by Jammu and Kashmir Police and a trial in Chandigarh.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra considered the plea of the accused, that they be impleaded as parties to the petition filed by the victim's father.
The bench also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said the trial should be fair not only for the accused but also for the victim's family and the protection to them and their lawyers should be ensured. They will transfer the case out of Kathua in case it finds the slightest possibility of lack of fair trial.
The bench also considered the issue of alleged obstruction by lawyers in administration of justice in the case and said,"if the lawyers are at fault, they would be dealt in accordance with law".
However, the Bar Council of India on Thursday said the lawyers' body in the district had neither obstructed the Crime Branch from filing the charge sheet nor the advocate representing the victim's family.
Earlier, the father of the eight-year-old minor moved the apex court, apprehending a threat to the family, a friend and their lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat.
The child from a minority nomadic community had disappeared from near her home in a village near Kathua in Jammu region on January 10. A week later, her body was found in the same area.
The state police's Crime Branch, which probed the case, filed the main chargesheet against seven persons and a separate charge sheet against a juvenile in a court in Kathua district last week.
The charge sheet revealed spine chilling details about how the girl was allegedly kidnapped, drugged, raped and murdered inside a temple.
(With inputs from PTI)