NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday pulled up lawyers in Jammu for obstructing the filing of the charge sheet in the Kathua rape and murder case, and directed the Bar Council of India to submit to it a report on the conduct of the lawyers within three days.
The order was given by a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, which observed that, “Bar Council of India Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra says BCI has formed a committee with a retired judge of the High Court as its head. They shall go to Jammu and Kathua and submit a report within three days.”
The court was hearing a petition concerning the conduct of members of the Jammu High Court Bar Association and the Kathua District Bar Association, and the obstruction to filing of the charge sheet in the heinous rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua.
“We are only concerned with a fair trial. They went on strike. That is wrong. Rule of law stands on the highest pedestal. Not just this case. We are concerned with other cases too. This should not happen in any case. All of you file affidavits”, the CJI said.
The counsel for the Jammu High Court Bar Association submitted that there was no support from the Association to the lawyers’ protest in the Kathua case.
However, the CJI responded that regardless of the background, the action was incorrect.
The lawyers insisted that they were protesting over a different issue that got mixed up with the filing of the charge sheet.
“Whatever may be the background (of the protest), the resultant action was wrong,” Justice Misra said as the court was told that the protesting lawyers had retreated and given an assurance that there would be no obstruction in the trial of the victim from the Bakarwal community in Jammu’s Hiranagar area.
The court slated the hearing for April 26.
Earlier this week, the Court had issued a notice to the state of Jammu and Kashmir on a plea filed by the Kathua rape and murder victim’s father to transfer the trial outside the state.
Taking note of the fact that lawyers appearing for the victim’s family – Deepika Rajawat and Talib Hussain – had been facing death threats from lawyers in the area, the Court had directed the state to provide adequate protection to them.