The Supreme Court Wednesday sought response from the Jammu and Kashmir government on a plea by Talib Hussain, a key witness in the sensational Kathua gang rape-and-murder case, alleging custodial torture by the state police in an alleged fake rape case.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra considered the submission of senior advocate Indira Jaising that Hussain had been brutally tortured in police custody and judicial intervention was needed.
The bench also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud asked the senior lawyer to explain as to how a writ of habeas corpus (produce the body) can be filed in the present case as the accused, Hussain, is in lawful custody of the police.
Jaising referred to a Supreme Court judgment and said that such a petition can be filed even in case of custodial torture.
The bench asked the state government to file the response in a week and asked the lawyers to serve a copy of the petition on the advocate general of the state. It also permitted the woman, who had lodged an FIR against Hussain alleging rape, to file an application seeking to intervene in the matter.
The bench posted the matter for further hearing on August 21.
The court was hearing the submission of a close relative of Hussain, seeking urgent hearing on the plea. The relative of Hussain sought his protection in police custody and alleged that he had been brutally beaten up in the alleged fake rape case.
The habeas corpus writ petition, filed by a cousin of the witness, alleged that Hussain had been kept in illegal detention and was being subjected to custodial torture.
Hussain is a key witness in the Kathua case, in which an eight-year-old girl from a minority nomadic community was abducted and gang-raped in January.
The state police’s crime branch, which probed the case, filed the main chargesheet against seven people and a separate chargesheet against a juvenile.