The Supreme Court did not grant the State of Kerala's request to prolong the term for trial in the rape case involving a Kerala actor on 24th January 2022. The Court stated that if the trial judge requests it, it will extend the period for trial in the Kerala actor rape case, and therefore left the matter to the trial judge's discretion.
The trial judge can send a report to the Supreme Court requesting an extension if it is deemed essential, according to a bench consisting of Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice CT Ravikumar. The bench stated that the State's request for an extension will not be granted.
The Kerala government, represented by senior counsel Jaideep Gupta, requested an extension of six months from the current deadline of February 16 to complete the trial. The bench, however, made it plain that the extension will not be granted at the request of the Kerala government.
Dileep's lawyer, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, argued against the Kerala government's plea, claiming that the state government is attempting to delay the trial. He adamantly contended that the trial deadline had already been extended multiple times.
He claimed that after the cross-examination of 200 witnesses, another individual appeared with a new set of allegations just as the case was about to come to a close. The court stated orally that it would not issue an order at the request of the state government and dismissed the case.
As a result, the application was dismissed, allowing the trial judge to file a report with the Supreme Court, requesting a time extension if deemed appropriate. In its order, the bench stated, "...we leave it to the trial court's discretion to take an appropriate perspective in this matter." Gupta asked the court to keep the State's application pending. "If the application is kept pending, it will give a different interpretation," the bench refused to comment.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Gupta requested the Supreme Court to keep the state government's application waiting, a request that Rohatgi objected to. The bench stated that if the case is left pending, it will take on a new meaning. The state government, according to Rohatgi, is holding a media trial against his client. Dileep is accused of plotting the kidnapping and sexual assault of the victim, also an actor, in a moving car on the outskirts of Cochin city in February 2017. In November 2019, the Supreme Court, while denying Dileep's request for a copy of the memory card supposedly having the images of the sexual offense, ordered that the issue be resolved quickly, "ideally within six months." From time to time, this period was extended. Dileep was detained by Kerala Police in July 2017 on suspicion of being the mastermind of the crime. The High Court granted him bail after 88 days in detention.
So far, the trial has taken some unexpected turns. During the trial, several actors who were interrogated as witnesses became hostile. The State had requested that the case be transferred to another court, claiming that the presiding judge was biased. The State's transfer request was refused by the Kerala High Court and then the Supreme Court. During the trial, two prosecutors quit. The Kerala High Court ordered a new prosecutor to be appointed in the case within 10 days last Thursday.