The Supreme Court has dismissed a defence plea that sought the shifting of trial in Delhi gangrape case to a place outside the national capital.
One of the defendants, Mukesh, had pleaded for an urgent hearing on the ground that free and fair hearing is not possible here because of strong public sentiment against him.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir rejected a transfer petition which was claimed to have been filed on
behalf of one of the six accused in the case. The bench passed the order after going through the report filed by the sessions court in which it was said that advocate M L Sharma, who appeared before it on the transfer plea issue,
had been given no authority by the accused to argue on his behalf.
"Your authority to appear in this matter has been totally denied by the accused," the bench said after going through the
report. Sharma then pleaded that he should be heard as an independent person in the case.
The bench, however, refused to allow him to argue in the case, saying, "We are unable to accept Sharma's submissions in
the facts and circumstances of the case." The controversy in the case arose after two advocates M L Sharma and V K Anand appeared before the apex court claiming to represent one of the accused Mukesh when the transfer petition came up for hearing.
The bench had then asked the sessions court, which is holding the trial in the case, to talk to Mukesh to find out
who is his real counsel and whether he wanted to pursue the case for transfer of trial to a place outside Delhi. The sessions court, after talking to the accused, filed a report in a sealed cover before the bench.
Mukesh, who is charged with murder, gangrape and unnatural offences, submitted in his petition that in view of regular agitation, police and judicial officials are allegedly under pressure to pass orders according to the demands of the agitators and fair hearing is not possible.
"The sentiment has gone into the root of each home in Delhi by which even the judicial officers and the state are not spared and in these circumstances, he cannot get justice in Delhi at all," the petition, filed through his advocate, said.
The petition said that "due to media reports and agitations and due to political statements and personal interest shown by the chief minister as well as various cabinet ministers, judiciary is under pressure to work against the petitioner".
The accused has sought transfer of the case to Mathura in Uttar Pradesh.
There are six accused in the case including a juvenile.
The five other accused --Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh and their accomplices Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur -- have been charge with the offences of murder, gangrape, attempt to murder, kidnapping, unnatural offences, dacoity, hurting in committing robbery, destruction of evidence, criminal conspiracy and common intention under IPC.
All the accused had gangraped the 23-year-old student in a moving bus on December 16. She died in a Singapore hospital on December 29.
Defence lawyers say that they are also preparing to reject the forensic findings as fabricated.
fast track court in Saket in south Delhi would start hearing the case 21 January.
With inputs from PTI