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Saturday, December 05, 2020

Actor assault case: Kerala HC refuses plea for transfer

The petitioners — the actress and the prosecution (state government) — had alleged that the trial court was biased and hostile.

Written by Shaju Philip | Updated: November 21, 2020 6:40:49 am
The single bench had also quashed the chargesheet filed by the state police. (File)

The Kerala High Court Friday refused to transfer the case pertaining to the alleged abduction and sexual assault of an actress from a trial court which is currently hearing it.

Malayalam film star Dileep is one of those accused in the case, reported in early 2017.

The petitioners—the actress and the prosecution (state government)—had alleged that the trial court was biased and hostile.

Justice V G Arun dismissed the petitions and said there was no merit in the contention that it would be appropriate for the special trial court judge to step back from the case.

The petitioners had cited “the trial court’s reluctance to pass orders on petitions filed by the prosecution” and “unwarranted and derogatory comments made against the prosecutor and the investigating agency” while raising apprehensions of bias.

The court of Additional Sessions Judge (CBI Special Court) Honey M Varghese had last month suspended the trial after the prosecution and the actress moved the High Court.

Justice Arun said: “Being a case transferred by the High Court and the Supreme Court having prescribed a time limit for completing the process, the judge cannot be expected to recuse, as long as her conscience is clear. The endeavour of every judge should be to get rid of his personal predilections and prejudices and to decide the cases dispassionately, and not to recuse whenever his or her actions are questioned.’’

The High Court judge also said that if the court and the prosecutor don’t work in sync, the guilty would escape from the clutches of law or the innocent would end up being punished. “Prosecutor is not to seek conviction at all costs or be an avenging angel for the victim, but to ensure that justice is delivered,” the judge said.

The petitioners had raised serious allegations against the trial court. They had said that on several occasions, scandalous questions were asked, challenging the credibility of the survivor and even attacking her character. In spite of the prosecution raising objections against such questions and the mode of examination, the special judge refused to intervene, they said.

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