Kathua gangrape: SC seeks material on strike by J-K bar body

New Delhi, Apr 13  The Supreme Court today asked a lawyer to bring materials on record to take judicial note of a strike call given by Kathua and Jammu and Kashmir bar associations in relation to the gangrape and killing of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu region.

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 motu 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 gangraped 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 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 a 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 sessions court for beginning of the trial.

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