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A petition which challenged the order for in camera hearing and a ban on media reporting of the December 16 gangrape case was dismissed on Wednesday by the district judge who said it was “mandatory” to hold in camera proceedings in a case of rape and related offences, and that the magistrate had been “duty bound” to pass such an order.

A revision petition had been filed on Tuesday before district judge R K Gauba challenging the order invoking Section 327 of the Code of Criminal Procedure by Metropolitan Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal.

The petitioners claimed that the day the accused were being produced, the Saket courtroom had a crowd because a large number of policemen were present there.

But according to the district judge Gauba, “the premise on which the grievance is raised stems from an erroneous understanding of the statutory rule”.

Gauba also mentioned, “The petitioners seek to question the order of the magistrate on facts. I am afraid this is not permissible as the judicial order is sacrosanct and cannot be questioned on factual aspects in the manner sought to be done.”

Aggarwal had passed the orders for in camera proceedings in the case after the prosecution said that the presence of the large number of lawyers, mediapersons and other people raised “apprehension about the safety of the undertrial prisoners”.

The district judge had asked police to reply to the petition filed by advocates D K Mishra and Poonam Kaushik who sought to set aside of the orders of the magistrate.

During arguments in court, Mishra said the media could not be barred from reporting the proceedings in the case as the “entire country wants to know what is happening in this case”.

In a reply filed on behalf of the Delhi Police, special public prosecutor Rajiv Mohan said the petition, which sought relief against a provision of procedural law, was not maintainable.

“The magistrate was within her rights, rather duty bound, to apply provisions contained in section 327(2) and (3) (in camera trial of rape cases) CrPC to the proceedings before her. .. I do not find any error, impropriety or illegality in the impugned order,” Gauba said.

Victim’s family for open court hearing

Ballia (UP): The family of the 23-year-old gangrape victim on Wednesday favoured an open court hearing in the case and said this would enable information to reach the people.

“They (general public) would otherwise not come to know of the developments and this might weaken the people’s anger, and the agitation going on against the rape and demands for a strict anti-rape law,” her family said.



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