The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday issued notices to the six accused and the Jammu and Kashmir government in connection with the gangrape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua last year, PTI reported. It was issued based on a petition filed by the girl’s father seeking enhancement of the sentences awarded to the convicts.

The court also issued a notice to the accused who was acquitted in the case by a lower court. The father of the girl had challenged his acquittal and on July 10 moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The father had pleaded that it’s a rarest of the rare cases as per the standards set by the Supreme Court and sought the death penalty for the accused.

A trial court in Pathankot had on June 10 sentenced three convicts in the case – Sanji Ram, Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar – to life imprisonment. While Sanji Ram was the mastermind of the crime and the caretaker of the temple where the child was raped, Deepak Khajuria was a police officer.

A bench of Justices Rajiv Sharma and Harinder Singh Sidhu, while issuing the notice to the respondents, fixed August 7 as the next date of hearing. “The court Thursday issued notices to the state of Jammu and Kashmir and all the accused in the matter,” Utsav Bains, the lawyer of the girl’s family said.

The trial in the case was shifted to the Pathankot Sessions Court on the directions of the Supreme Court last year. The trial court had also sentenced sub inspector Anand Dutta, head constable Tilak Raj and special police officer Surender Verma to five years each in jail. Accused Vishal Jangotra has been acquitted.