Kathua rape case: Our 'real concern' is fair trial, says Supreme Court

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Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, sitting with Justices A.M. Kanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, made it clear to senior counsel Indira Jaising appearing for the father of eight-year old victim girl that the court did not want to divert its attention from the aspect of fair trial.

"As such, the victim's family itself is satisfied with the probe conducted by the SIT", it said, adding that pursuant to the court's order, the advocate representing the victim's family and a friend of the family have been provided security by the state.

The bench, however, said that fast tracking the trial doesn't mean that proper opportunity was not granted in accordance with the procedure to the accused as well as the victim's family.

The trial ought to be fair not only for the accused but for the victim's family and protection needs to be ensured to them and their lawyers.

Today, the Bar Council of India told the court that its internal inquiry, led by a retired High Court judge, had found the demand for a CBI investigation "justified".

"When a charge sheet has been filed courts will be circumspect in ordering a fresh probe by another agency", the CJI said.

Alam told the bench that the report of BCI can not be relied upon since no Crime branch officers, who were allegedly obstructed by agitating lawyers at Kathua, were heard.

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"Let the main issue be not missed". The accused added that Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees fair investigation as well as trial to the accused. Let us not digress from the real issue. "The real issue is that how can we achieve justice", it said. The two accused have opposed the father's plea.

On April 13, the apex court took suo motu notice of an incident of lawyers of Jammu and Kathua bar associations preventing the victim's lawyer from appearing in the case. The court then listed the matter for hearing on May 8.

Earlier in the day, the bench agreed to consider a separate plea filed by two accused seeking that the trial in the case be held in Jammu and the probe handed over to the CBI.

The rape and murder of an eight year old has created an uproar in the country. The victim's father had earlier sought to transfer the case from the Kathua court to Chandigarh.

The body of the girl was recovered from a forest on 17 January, a week after she had gone missing while grazing horses in the forest area.

In an affidavit, filed in the apex court, the state said on April 9, though the police team had arrived in the Kathua Chief Judicial Magistrate court around 3.45 pm to file the chargesheet, they could not do so due to sloganeering by the lawyers.

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