The Bar Council of India told the Supreme Court on Thursday that lawyers in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district had not tried to stop the police from filing a chargesheet in the case of the murder and alleged rape of an eight-year-old girl in January, Bar and Bench reported. A five-member team of the bar council visited the state last week to investigate the accusations against the lawyers.
The panel found that the lawyers’ demand for a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry “appears to be justifiable”. It said that the media had “misreported the entire episode”.
On April 13, the Supreme Court took cognisance of reports about the lawyers’ alleged conduct on April 9. It issued a notice to the bar council and the bar associations of Kathua and Jammu, which had reportedly supported the lawyers during the incident.
The Bar Council of India panel, chaired by former Allahabad High Court judge Justice Tarun Agarwala, said it had met lawyers of both bar associations, district judges, members of the Bakarwal community, which the victim belonged to, and the lawyer of the victim’s family, Deepika Rajawat.
The panel claimed that Kathua Bar Association members had not restricted any police official from entering the court, and that they had neither snatched away the chargesheet document nor torn it up. They only shouted slogans asking the state police’s crime branch to “go back” and demanded a CBI inquiry, the report said.
However, Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police SP Vaid told The Hindu that the Bar Council of India panel had not met officials either from the crime branch or the state police. The Kathua principal district and sessions judge has also submitted a report in the Supreme Court, refuting the Bar Council of India panel’s findings, News18 reported on Friday. The report, accompanied by an affidavit from the registrar general of Jammu and Kashmir High Court, claimed that the lawyers had interfered with the proceedings and stalled it.
The Supreme Court will hear the matter again on April 30, NDTV reported.