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Kathua rape case: SC takes suo motu cognisance, issues notice to J&K Bar association

By Deepika

The Supreme Court on Friday took suo moto notice in Kathua rape case and issued notices to Jammu and Kashmir BAR Association for impeding victims and their lawyers from filing their case.

Taking suo motu cognisance of the conduct of lawyers in Kathua rape case, the Supreme Court on Friday said access to justice can't be impeded by lawyers.The top court issued notice to Bar Council of India, Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association, Jammu High Court Bar Association and Kathua Bar Association on a plea against lawyers allegedly blocking filing of chargesheet

SC likely to take suo moto notice in Kathua rape case

Earlier, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra asked lawyer P V Dinesh to furnish some material with regard to the actions of the bar bodies for enabling it to take suo moto judicial note of the strike call.

Dinesh referred to the "unfortunate" decisions of the local bar that had allegedly come in support of the people who had gang-raped and killed the minor in Kathua.

"Something must come on record. We have nothing on record," the bench, also comprising justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said and asked the lawyer to file some material in support of his contention.

Dinesh submitted that the apex court should take note of bar's actions and issue directions to them and the Bar Council of India to ensure that the rule of law prevails.

The bench assured the lawyer that it would consider the matter if an adequate material is brought before it.

The minor girl, who belonged to the nomadic Bakerwal Muslim community, had disappeared from near her home in the forests next to Rasana village in Kathua, 90 km from here, on January 10. A week later, her body was found in the same area, and medical examination pointed towards sexual assault.

During initial investigations, police arrested a juvenile. Later, the case was transferred to Jammu and Kashmir Police's crime branch. Two Special Police Officers (SPOs) and later, another five people, including a former revenue official and the alleged conspirator, who surrendered before the special investigation team, were among those arrested.

The state police crime branch, which probed the rape and killing of the girl, had filed the main charge sheet against seven people and a separate charge sheet against the juvenile in a court in Kathua district earlier this week. Jammu has been on tenterhooks since the brutal incident.

The bar associations have been opposing the action against the accused, alleging that the minority Dogras were being targeted.

Lawyers took to the streets shouting slogans and trying to block the road outside the court where the charge sheets have been filed.

The court has fixed the next date of hearing on April 16 when the case would be committed to the sessions court for the beginning of the trial.

OneIndia News (with agency inputs)

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