The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the trial in the Kathua gangrape and murder case till May 7. The decision came after it was seized with petitions seeking shifting of the trial to Chandigarh and handing over the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
"Kathua rape and murder case: Supreme Court stayed the trial in the case before Sessions judge till the next date of hearing May 7," ANI reported.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said it will deal with the prayer of the victim's father for shifting of trial from Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua to Chandigarh. The bench also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra agreed to consider the accused Sanji Ram and Vishal Jangotra's plea seeking handing over the probe to the CBI.
The next hearing regarding the same will take place on May 7, 2018.
Earlier, the eight-year-old's father had moved the SC, apprehending threat to the family, a friend and their lawyer Rajawat.
A separate plea was also filed by two accused seeking that the trial in the case be held in Jammu and the probe handed over to the CBI.
The apex court, on Thursday, said that it will transfer the case out of Kathua in case it finds the 'slightest possibility' of lack of fair trial adding that the 'real concern' is to hold proper prosecution.
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.
The child from a minority nomadic community had disappeared from near her home in a village near Jammu and Ksahmir's Kathua on January 10. Her body was found in the same area a week later.
The state police's Crime Branch, which probed the case, filed the main charge sheet against seven persons. A separate charge sheet was filed against a juvenile in a court in Kathua district last week.
The charge sheet revealed chilling details about how the girl was allegedly kidnapped, drugged, raped and murdered inside a temple.