The Supreme Court on Friday took suo motu cognisance of the alleged conduct of lawyers after a strike call given by the Kathua and Jammu and Kashmir Bar Associations in relation to the Kathua gangrape and murder case. The top court also issued a notice to the Bar Council of India and Jammu Bar Association in the matter.
Earlier in the day, the apex court had asked lawyer P V Dinesh to bring materials on record to take judicial note of a strike call given by Kathua and Jammu and Kashmir bar associations in relation to the gangrape and killing of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu region. The top court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra asked Dinesh to furnish some material with regard to the actions of the bar bodies for enabling it to take suo motu judicial note of the strike call. ALSO READ: A father’s anguish: ‘She did not know right from left…what Hindu, Muslim?’
Dinesh referred to the ‘unfortunate’ decisions of the local bar that had allegedly come in support of the people who had gangraped and killed the minor in Kathua. The minor girl, who belonged to the nomadic Bakerwal Muslim community, had disappeared from near her home in the forests next to Rasana village in Kathua, 90 km from here, on January 10.
A week later, her body was found in the same area, and medical examination pointed towards sexual assault. ALSO READ: Kathua, Unnao rape cases LIVE updates
The rape and murder has sent shockwaves in the country with politicians, celebrities, and sportspersons voicing their outrage over the incident. Chilling details of the case have come to light and there is a clamour to hand out the maximum punishment to the guilty.
The body of the girl was found in the forests at Rassana a week after she went missing while grazing ponies in the woods. The Crime Branch’s investigations found that she was heavily sedated and raped repeatedly by a retired revenue official Sanji Ram along with his son Vishal and nephew. It is suspected that the motive behind the crime was to drive away the nomadic Muslim Bakherwal community. ALSO READ: Will amend POCSO Act to bring death penalty for rape of minors, says Maneka Gandhi
Jammu has been on tenterhooks since the brutal incident. The bar associations have been opposing the action against the accused, alleging that the minority Dogras were being targeted.
Lawyers took to the streets shouting slogans and trying to block the road outside the court where the charge sheets have been filed.