The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the Kerala government’s petition seeking a change of the trial judge hearing a 2017 sexual assault and abduction case, in which Malayalam actor Dileep is one of the accused, Live Law reported.

Both the prosecution and the female actor who was allegedly assaulted had approached the Kerala High Court. The woman had alleged that the presiding judge was biased and failed to stop the defence lawyers from continuously questioning her character. However, the High Court had dismissed the plea last month.

During Tuesday’s hearing, a bench led by Justice AM Khanwilkar upheld the Kerala High Court order. The top court said the allegations against the trial judge were “unwarranted”. It also observed that such comments will affect the morale of the judge.

The Kerala government and the female actor had urged the Supreme Court to immediately stay the trial proceedings before the special court in Ernakulam. The state government had submitted that it was aggrieved by the “biased, hostile and partisan” conduct of the trial court. The government also pointed out that both the Supreme Court and the High Court have intervened earlier in the case to highlight its importance.

“Most of the time I was weeping,” the actor’s advocate had told the Kerala High Court on November 20. “I was compelled to speak about the horrific details before a large group of advocates. The judge could not control the court. No judge would have allowed to put such questions to a victim of a horrific sexual crime.”

The female actor was allegedly kidnapped and sexually abused inside her car for two hours on February 17, 2017. Dileep is among the 10 accused in the case and alleged to have been the mastermind of the assault. The entire act was also reportedly filmed by the accused to blackmail the actor.

The trial court had dismissed a plea filed by Dileep to exclude him from the list of accused on the ground that there was prima facie evidence against him.