The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the trial in the Kathua case till May 7, PTI reported. The court said it would first deal with petitions that the father of the eight-year-old victim and the accused have filed. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Indu Malhotra will hear their pleas.
The girl was allegedly raped and then murdered in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district in January. Her father has requested for the trial to be moved to Chandigarh, while two of the accused have urged the Central Bureau of Investigation to investigate the case.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court agreed to consider the plea filed by the two accused. The court said it wanted to ensure a fair trial, and asked the police to provide protection to the girl’s family and their lawyers. The court, however, warned that the trial would be shifted out of Kathua if there was the slightest doubt that the trial would not be fair.
The girl was found dead on January 17, a week after she went missing in a village. The chargesheet filed by the Crime Branch said she had been held captive in a temple, drugged, allegedly raped repeatedly and then strangled. The accused allegedly lured the girl to a secluded place on the pretext of helping her find her missing horses, and then took her to the temple.
The crime sparked several protests and counter protests across the country.