The Allahabad High Court has refused to stay or transfer the trial in the Hathras gang rape case pending before the special court at Hathras.
The order was passed on a plea by the victim's brother alleging that an unruly mob which included lawyers had barged into the trial court during the proceedings and intimidated the witnesses and the complainant's counsel eventually forcing the trial judge to halt the proceedings.
A Division Bench comprising Justices Rajan Roy and Jaspreet Singh after examining a report filed by the District judge and security officers in this regard refused to stay the proceedings before the special court.
The order stated that having perused both the reports and the statements/reports annexed therewith, without mentioning the details contained therein considering the sensitive nature of the case, as was also requested by learned Amicus Curiae who was permitted by us to go through the reports, suffice it to say, as of now, we do not find any reason to stay the proceedings in Session Trial No. 538 of 2020 (Case Crime No. 0005 of 2020) pending before the Special Court (SC/ST Act), Hathras nor for that matter to transfer the same elsewhere.
On March 20, the High Court had issued a slew of directions to secure the safety of the trial and the witnesses and lawyers in the Hathras gang rape and murder case.
That order was passed in a case initiated suo moto in December 2020 with respect to the unfortunate incident in which the 19-year-old girl, who was gang-raped and murdered in Hathras, was allegedly cremated by the State Police without permitting the family members to access the dead body. The March 20 directions were passed by the Court after the victim's brother moved the Court alleging disruption of trial by an unruly mob.
The Bench besides ordering the trial to be held in-camera for the time being had also sought a status report from the District Judge, Hathras, and the Inspector General, CRPF Central Sector regarding the veracity of the allegations.
Pursuant to that order the District Judge, Hathras conducted a detailed inquiry and submitted a report in a sealed cover. The report of the District Judge is dated 02.04.2021. He has submitted a report after recording the statements of sixteen (16) persons, including Ms. Seema Kushwaha, Advocate and the victim's brother and mother, who were present at the time of the incident alleged in the affidavit of the victim's brother, and seeing the CCTV Footage and records. The Presiding Officer's statement/report has also been taken into account as also the CCTV Footage. The report is accompanied by statements of the concerned persons recorded by the District Judge, Hathras. The report of the District Judge, Hathras is also accompanied by the report of the Presiding Officer of the Court where the trial is being concluded, the Court noted in its order passed on August 26.
The Court made it clear that the directions contained in its previous order for providing requisite security to witnesses and family of the victim as also with regard to non-disruption of the trial by any person will continue. The application for stay or transfer of trial was accordingly disposed of while refusing any stay or transfer of the trial. The main matter will be heard now on September 16.