Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of Dipak Misra, CJ and AM Khanwilkar and Dr. DY Chandrachud, JJ directed the State of Jammu & Kashmir to grant protection to the family members of the 8-year old girl, who had been brutally abducted, raped and murdered in Kathua district of J&K in the month of January 2018. The Court also directed that protection be granted to the Deepika Singh Rajawat, the lawyer representation the victim’s family, and one Talib Hussain, who has been rendering assistance to the victim’s family.

Senior Advocate Indira Jaising had submitted before the Court that there was apprehension in the mind of the father of the victim, that there would be no fair trial inasmuch as there has been protest by the members of the Bar and further there may be issues relating to witness protection. She had told that Court that there should be protection for the victim as well as the lawyer who has a right to protect the interest of the victims in the Court.

On the demand of Indira Jaising, the Court also directed that the State authority should provide security in plain clothes. The Court also directed the State authorities to do the needful, keeping in view the spirit of the care and protection of Children, and strengthen the security at juvenile home where the alleged juvenile accused is lodged.

Earlier, the Court had taken suo motu cognizance in the matter and had issued notice to Bar Council of India, Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association, Jammu High Court Bar Association and Kathua Bar Association on a plea filed against the lawyers for allegedly blocking the filing of charge sheet in the matter and obstructing a lawyer from representing the victim’s family.

The Court will now take up the matter on 27.04.2018. [Mohd. Akhtar v. State of Jammu and Kashmir, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 386, order dated 16.04.2018]

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