Gangrape case: Supreme Court defers hearing over counsel row

A day after two lawyers appeared before the Supreme Court claiming to represent one of the six accused in the December 16 gangrape case, the sessions Judge has been asked by the court conducting the trial to find out who the actual counsel was and if he wanted to pursue the case for transferring the trial to a court outside Delhi.

A bench headed by chief justice Altamas Kabir adjourned the hearing after the advocates indulged in verbal dual and began making claims and counterclaims for representing accused Mukesh. Refusing to hear the case, the sessions judge has been asked by the Supreme Court bench to find out who the accused’s actual counsel was.

As soon as advocate ML Sharma, who claimed to have filed the plea on behalf of accused Mukesh to seek transfer of trial to Mathura in UP on the ground of prejudice and charged atmosphere, started arguments, another lawyer VK Anand objected saying Sharma was no more associated with the case.

It was then that the Supreme Court bench asked the advocate-on-record to appear before it at noon to find out the truth. When the matter was again taken up after lunch, Anand did a U-turn, saying he has been authorised by the accused to represent him only in the trial court.

Sharma then alleged that Mukesh is being tortured by the police and Anand was trying to create hindrance in hearing of the transfer plea in the gangrape case in which arguments on charges will commence from Thursday.

The court then directed the sessions judge to talk to Mukesh and find out the truth behind these allegations and posted the matter for hearing on January 30.

Mukesh, who along with four others, has been charged with murder, gangrape and unnatural offences, has alleged that in view of regular agitations, police and judicial officials are under pressure to pass orders according to the demands of the agitators and hence, a fair hearing is not possible. “The sentiment has gone into the root of each home in Delhi by which even the judicial officers and the state are not spared and in these circumstances, he cannot get justice in Delhi at all,” Mukesh’s plea said.

Besides Mukesh, bus driver Ram Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur, have been charged with offences of murder, gangrape, attempt to murder, kidnapping, unnatural offences, dacoity, hurting in committing robbery, destruction of evidence, criminal conspiracy and common intention under IPC. Their sixth accomplice is a juvenile and is being tried separately before the Juvenile Justice Board.

Court to hear arguments ‘in-camera’ in Delhi gangrape case

Trial proceedings in the December Delhi gang rape case which was done with a paramedical student on 16th December, 2012 will be held in-camera before a fast track court, which, on Monday decided to hear arguments on framing of charges against five accused on January 24.

Upholding the previous order of a magistrate, the special fast track court judge told that only those who are connected with the case will stay in the courtroom. Others should vacate the court immediately.

Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna also decided to hear “in-camera” the arguments on framing of charges against the five accused on January 24 as the judicial records were sent by the magisterial court after concluding the procedural formalities.

Invoking a legal provision that bars open court hearing, the special judge said, “As per section 327 (2) of the CrPC, the proceedings will be held in-camera and section 327 (3) prohibits anyone from publishing and printing the proceedings.”

“I am upholding the same order passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate (MM).”

Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir had inaugurated the fast track court at Saket district courts complex earlier this month following a decision of the Delhi government in this regard.

Earlier, the MM had allowed an application of Delhi police seeking in-camera proceedings following the chaos in the courtroom when the accused were being brought.

The accused have been charged under the IPC for offences of murder, gang-rape and destruction of evidence.

The 23-year-old paramedical student was brutally assaulted and gang-raped in a moving bus allegedly by six persons, including a juvenile, on the night of December 16 before being dumped in a south Delhi locality here. Her male friend was also assaulted.

The victim later died at a Singapore hospital.

Earlier, special public prosecutor Dayan Krishnan and Delhi police counsel Rajiv Mohan, along with the investigating officer, entered inside the packed courtroom where the proceedings were to commence before the special court at 2:30 pm for the first time.

Besides 30-40 security personnel, defence lawyers and journalists were also inside the court room where all the accused were brought in with their faces muffled up.

The driver of the bus Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh, AkshayThakur, Pawan Gupta and Vinay are the accused in the case. While their juvenile accomplice is being tried separately at the Juvenile Justice Board in Delhi.

Except Thakur, who was arrested from Aurangabad in Bihar on December 22, rest four accused were arrested within 24 hours of the incident.

Special prosecutor Krishnan started the argument with a plea that the special court should give an order as to whether the trial proceedings would be open for all or it would be held in-camera.

Citing legal provisions and the previous order of the magistrate, he said the section 327 (2) and (3) of the CrPC specifically provides that the trial in rape cases “shall be held” in-camera.

He argued that even though the detailed proceedings in the case cannot be allowed to be reported as per the earlier order, but the special court needs to pass an order which should decide the issue whether it can be reported or not.

“In-camera proceedings under section 327 (2) of the CrPC should go on. Reporting of proceedings by the media, under section 327 (3), is upto the court to decide,” According to Krishnan.

He also said that if the judge deems it fit then he can allow media to publish a brief of the proceedings or can pass an order regarding how much media can report or publish.

He also added that but detailed reporting of the proceedings may not be allowed.

Defence lawyers VK Anand and RP Singh sought lifting of the ban on media saying that the denial may result in mis-reporting.

Swami Om Ji, a self-proclaimed spiritual guru who had earlier withdrawn his plea in the High Court seeking a direction to allow media to cover the case, on Monday again appeared before the special judge raising the same issue.

However, the court dismissed his plea saying he does not have any locus.

Around 200-300 protesters had gathered outside the court complex for a brief period. Later, most of them left after security personnel denied them entry.

Delhi Gangrape: Case committed to fast track sessions court

The brutal gang rape case which was happened in a moving bus on the roads of Delhi, after one month the case has been committed to a fast track session court for trial.

The proceedings related to the case will begin on 21st January in the sessions court. The victim, a paramedical student, was brutally raped and assaulted in a moving bus in the night of December 16, 2012 and she died of injuries on December 29 in a Singapore hospital.

The five accused – bus driver Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Akshay Singh – were produced before a court in muffled faces.

The case of the sixth accused – a minor – is being heard by a Juvenile Justice Board.

High Court accepts Delhi Police status report after apology

A fresh status report disclosing the names of police officials patrolling the area in Delhi which a 23-year-old girl was gang-raped in a moving bus here, has been accepted by the Delhi High Court after the city police tendered apology for not disclosing the names earlier.

“I tender my unconditional apology for not giving names of the policemen who were on duty in the PCR vans concerned, though their names have figured in the charge sheet as they are witnesses in the case,” Dayan Krishnan, counsel for Delhi Police told a bench headed by Chief Justice D Murugesan before filing the fresh status report.

“The status report says that police personnel deployed on the PCR vans are the witnesses in the case and the charge sheet has their names. So, what was the difficulty in showing their names in the status report? You should have told us this earlier,” the bench also comprising Justice VK Jain remarked.

The court had taken strong exception on Wednesday to the fact that only a junior police officer was suspended in connection with the case and that senior ones, including the police commissioner, were not made accountable.

“Why only ACP, why not DCP, why not the commissioner have been put to task?” the bench had remarked.

During the hearing, the court also said, “We direct the police officials to ensure removal of dark film/tinted glasses and curtains from the vehicles in Delhi without any delay.”

The court, meanwhile, asked the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to take immediate steps to increase the number of PCR vans in the Capital to ensure better safety of citizens, including women.

“We are also of the view that the Central government should look into the said issue and total number of PCR vans be increased from existing 617,” the court said adding that the role of such PCR vans should also be revisited to use them for proper patrolling purposes also.

Gangrape: Case fixed for Jan 14 for scrutiny of documents

In Delhi For the scrutiny of documents filed with the charge sheet in the case of the December 16 gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old girl, a court has fixed a date which is January 14.

The five accused — bus driver Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Akshay Thakur — were produced before Metropolitan Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal, who conducted the proceedings in-camera.

The five accused are at present in judicial custody. The case of the sixth accused – a minor – is being heard by a Juvenile Justice Board.

The victim, a paramedical student, was brutally raped and assaulted in a moving bus here on the night of December 16, 2012 and she died of injuries on December 29 in a Singapore hospital.

The court on January 5 had taken cognisance of the charge sheet against five of the accused yesterday under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 376 (2)(g) (gangrape), 377 (unnatural offences), 395 (dacoity), 396 (murder in dacoity), 394 (hurting in dacoity), 201 (destruction of evidence), 120-B (conspiracy), 34 (common intention) and 412 (dishonestly receiving stolen property) of the IPC.

Meanwhile, the court issued notice to the Delhi Police to file its response on an allegation by an advocate that the police and the Safdarjung Hospital were “negligent” in dealing with the case and the victims.

Gang-rape victim’s fight will not go in vain: Sonia

Promising swift and fitting punishment for the Delhi gang-rape accused, Congress President Sonia Gandhi told that the nation’s “beloved daughter” will get justice and her fight will not go in vain. “As a woman and mother, I understand how you feel. I appeal you to remain calm and help strengthen our collective resolve to fight the menace of violence against women,” Gandhi, who is also the UPA Chairperson, said in a televised address.

“Today all Indians feel as they have lost their own beloved daughter, their cherished sister, a young woman of 23 whose life full of hope, dream and promise was ahead of her. Our hearts go out to her parents, family, the whole country shares their pain,” she said. Appealing for peace and calm in wake of the tragic incident, Gandhi said, “Today we pledge that she will get justice and that her fight will not go in vain”.

The Congress President said that the tragedy “strengthens our resolve to fight with all our might and with all the powers of our laws and our administration for the safety and protection of all women of our country and to ensure swift and fitting punishment for the perpetrators of such acts. “It deepens our determination to battle the pervasive shameful social attitudes and mindsets that allow men to rape and molest women and girls with such impunity.”

As people hit the streets expressing their outrage over the tragedy, Gandhi said “to all of you who have expressed their anger and anguish publicly, who have poured out in her support, I want to assure you that your voice has been heard.”

Gandhi had yesterday sought speedy action against the perpetrators of the “barbarous” attack and had hoped the victim undergoing treatment in Singapore recovered. Choosing to skip her customary New Year wishes on the sidelines of the 127th Foundation Day of Congress at AICC headquarters here yesterday, Gandhi had said,”..Not so today because our thoughts are with the young woman, who is fighting for her life after the barbarous attack”.

She had added, “Our only wish today is that she recovers and comes back to us and that no time is lost in bringing the perpetrators of such a barbarous act to justice”. The Congress chief had earlier shot off strongly-worded letters to Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Diskhit wanting firm steps for the security of women in the national capital, describing the incident as a “matter of shame”.