Supreme Court transfers Kathua Rape-Murder trial to Pathankot, no CBI investigation

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Earlier, the SC had cleared that it would transfer the case from the local court if there was the "slightest possibility" of lack of fair trial.

In January, an eight-year-old girl, belonging to a nomadic Muslim tribe, was abducted, drugged, gang-raped, tortured and killed, causing a huge outrage throughout the nation.

The trial in the gangrape and murder of an 8-year-old in Kathua, which triggered global condemnation, will be held in Punjab's Pathankot, the Supreme Court said today. "Isko itna tool nahi dena chahiye (Kathua incident is a small incident which should not be given so much importance)", Gupta had said barely hours after taking oath as J&K deputy chief minister Kavinder Gupta.

The bench listed the matter for further hearing on July 9.

The court allowed J&K government to appoint public prosecutor to conduct prosecution of accused in the trial at Pathankot and also asked the government to provide security to victim's family, their lawyer and witnesses. The decision by the Supreme Court came in the wake of the petition filed by the biological father of the victim, urging the transfer of the case to Chandigarh and also following the plea of the accused seeking handover the case to the CBI. Her raped body was found in the same area a week later. It has also passed a slew of directions for the manner in which the case should proceed - including fast-tracking of the case, in-camera trial and daily hearing.

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Earlier on April 25, the juvenile presented himself before the court amid heavy security. It added that the trial must be fair to the victim's family as well as the accused.

Both the Jammu and Kashmir government and the accused in the case had opposed the girl's father's plea in the Supreme Court.

"Fair trial is sacrosanct principle under Article 21 [fundamental right to life] of the Constitution", the court observed in the order.

The trial shall be held under the provisions of the Ranbir Penal Code, which is applicable in Jammu and Kashmir.

The state police has filed the main charge sheet against seven persons and a separate charge sheet against a juvenile in a court in Kathua district.

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