Free Press Journal



 New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the bar associations of Kathua and Jammu, asking them to desist from denying access of justice to the family of Kathua’s rape victim child or cause any obstruction in the court proceedings.

The Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud took suo motu notice of the matter on being told that the lawyers of two associations had prevented a lady lawyer from appearing for the victim’s family.

Earlier in the morning, the Bench had sought “something on record” from a lawyer for it to act suo motu, but it decided to crack the whip on being told about the obstruction on the day the charge-sheet was to be filed in a Kathua court.

It also issued notice to the Bar Council of India and the Jammu & Kashmir Bar Council seeking their response on being told how the lawyers had prevented even the filing of the charge-sheet. It has fixed the next hearing on April 19.

The case relates to an 8-year old girl of a nomadic Muslim tribe gang-raped and killed in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir in January. She had gone missing while grazing sheep in Rassana forest in Jammu region.

“Something must come on record. We have nothing on record” to take note of the local lawyers’ strike, the Bench had told advocate P V Dinesh who raised the matter earlier in the day. He wanted the court’s directions to the local bars and the Bar Council of India to ensure the rule of law prevails.

The lawyer pointed out how the local bar associations instigated its members to take to the streets in Kathua early this week and blocked the road outside the court on the day the charge-sheet was filed. He apprehended more trouble on April 16 when the case is to be committed to the Sessions court for beginning the trial.

The police have drawn up a charge-sheet against seven people, including two Special Police Officers (SPOs), while the local bar associations are protesting against it, alleging that the minority Dogra community members were “being targeted.”