Lawyers Cannot Obstruct Access To Justice: Supreme Court On Kathua Case

Kathua Rape Case: Lawyers of the bar at Kathua and Jammu are obstructing the judicial process in favour of the accused, Advocate PV Dinesh told a bench headed by CJI Justice Dipak Misra

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Lawyers Cannot Obstruct Access To Justice: Supreme Court On Kathua Case

Kathua Case: Lawyers of bar association blocked Crime Branch officials for hours from entering court

New Delhi:  Lawyers cannot obstruct the process of law and it is violation of access to justice, the Supreme Court has said. The court was hearing a petition filed by a group of lawyers seeking action against lawyers who tried to obstruct the filing of a chargesheet in rape and murder of an eight-year-old in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua and allegedly threatened the victim's family.

Lawyers of the bar at Kathua and Jammu are obstructing the judicial process in favour of the accused, Advocate PV Dinesh told a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Justice Dipak Misra.

The lawyers filed the petition after the court asked them to file "something on record".

"Preventing lawyers from defending a victim affects the dispensation of justice. No lawyer can prevent access to justice," the court said.

Earlier this week, despite a huge security presence at the court of the chief judicial magistrate, lawyers belonging to the Kathua bar association protested on the court premises and stopped Crime Branch officials from entering the court for hours.

Later, after additional security was sent in, the Crime Branch officials filed a chargesheet against seven of the eight accused in the case that also allegedly involves a juvenile. Among them are two special police officers and two policemen accused of destroying evidence.

The Kathua bar association has been backing demands made by a local group called the Hindu Ekta Manch that has been opposing the investigations by the Crime Branch calling it "biased" and demanding a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The Jammu Bar association has supported the demand.

The Crime Branch investigation is being monitored by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

The police have lodged a case against the lawyers for obstructing Crime Branch officials from doing their duty. No arrest has been made so far.

The eight-year-old girl's body was recovered from a forest in Kathua on January 18, a week after she disappeared while herding horses.

The Crime Branch says she was held captive at a place of worship, drugged and raped before she was murdered.

The Supreme Court has now issued notices to the Bar Council of India, the State Bar Council of Jammu and Kashmir, the Jammu and Kashmir State Bar association and the Kathua District Bar association. The case will be heard next on April 19.

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