New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the shifting of Kathua gangrape-cum-murder’s trial involving an eight-year-old girl from Jammu and Kashmir to Pathankot in Punjab to ensure free and fair trial.
While ordering a day-to-day in-camera trial by district and sessions judge at Pathankot, the apex court refused to hand over the probe to CBI saying that there was no need as the charge sheet had already been filed after investigation. A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, said, “A fair trial is a sacrosanct principle under Article 21 of the Constitution and a ‘fair trial’ means fair to the accused persons, as well as to the victims of the crime.”
The bench, including Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, said, “Fair trial commands that there has to be free atmosphere where the victims, the accused and the witnesses feel safe. They must not suffer from any kind of phobia while attending the court. Fear and fair trial are contradictory in terms and they cannot be allowed to co-exist.”
The order came on a petition by the victim’s father seeking transfer of the case to Chandigarh on the ground that the family was receiving death threats and that they feared for their lives.