The continuing public and media attention on the Delhi gangrape case, the logistical challenge and the potential risk of law and order that a day-to-day trial will entail will weigh heavily on the government and on the Delhi Police.
All indications at this point, however, are that the trial will be held at the Saket Court Complex. Following the Delhi High Court’s nod last month to open five fast-track courts to hear rape cases on a day-to-day basis, the Saket Court Complex is inaugurating the first of the five today.
As per a report in The Hindu, the Chief Justice of India will inaugurate the fast-track court on Wednesday and it will be presided by an Additional District Sessions Judge. (Read full report here)
The Delhi Police spokesperson refused to comment on whether a venue other than Saket Court, under whose jurisdiction the case falls, was being considered. It may recalled that in the 2G trial case, the Delhi High Court had passed a notification to shift the trial from the Patiala House Court complex to high security Tihar Jail complex. The order, however, was subsequently stayed after it was challenged by the defence counsel.
Commenting on the chances of the trial being held at an alternate premise, a criminal lawyer from Saket court, said: “It will be held in the Saket court itself since it is not a case where VIPs are invovled.”
The question of who will defend the accused still seems to be unresolved. The Saket Bar Association has passed a resolution refusing to defend the six accused in the case. Asked if the counsel for the accused had been finalized, Delhi Police spokesperson said, “There is no development on that front.”
“If the accused requires a lawyer, they can go for legal aid. That is the fundamental right of the accused. An advocate from the Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA) can defend the case,” said Rajpal Kasana, president of the Saket Bar Association.
Brijesh Sethi, member secretary of the DLSA, however, said that so far no such request had been made to them. “If there is a request, we will definitely process it,” said Sethi.
Once the charge sheet is filed, which is expected this week, the court will frame charges against the accused.
“It almost never happens that the accused plead guilty. But if it should happen, it will be up to the court to decide the next course. The accused will be asked if he is making the plea willingly or under pressure. If after the grant of time to consider their plea, the court is convinced that the accused are willingly pleading guilty, it will pass the order convicting them,” said the criminal lawyer.