Kathua Gangrape & Murder: SC Allows J&K Govt to File Status Report

The three witnesses had said they gave their statement to the police under coercion.

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Kathua Gangrape & Murder: SC Allows J&K Govt to File Status Report
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The Supreme Court allowed the Jammu and Kashmir government to file a status report on Thursday, 17 May, in the Kathua gang rape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl after the state alleged that the three college friends of an accused might have misled the probe.

In an interim order on 16 May, the Supreme Court refused to provide protection to the witnesses in the case. The court’s order came in response to a petition by three witnesses, alleging that they were being harassed by the state police.

The Supreme Court also refused the witnesses’ plea for a change of investigating agency in the case.


A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud heard the plea, filed by Sahil Sharma and two others, all college friends of the juvenile accused in the case. According to their plea, they had already recorded their statements before the police and the magistrate.

The three witnesses asserted that they gave their statement to the police under coercion, in a statement before the magistrate.

Faced Imminent Threat Under Crime Branch: Juvenile’s Kin

The students said that the they were constrained to move the apex court seeking security as they faced "imminent threat to their lives at the hand of the Crime Branch".

The students alleged that they were "coerced to make statements contrary to the facts that Jangotra was with them at Muzzafarnagar from 7 January to 10 February. During that period, he, along with the petitioners, attended examinations and practical papers".

"The petitioners were subjected to the physical and mental torture from 19 March to 31 March by the respondents (state police officers)," the plea said.


The petitioner also sought Rs 50 lakh each as compensation to the three students for the "physical and mental agony and loss of study and future prospects".

The petition, which the three had filed on Monday, 14 May, alleged that the state police was now asking them to re-appear and re-record their statements and exerting pressure on their families.

The bench, also comprising justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, did not agree with the contention of the students that their further questioning be video-graphed.


"We have never allowed video recording of any such process in the past," it said, adding that the other plea of seeking presence of lawyers at the time of questioning may be considered.

The apex court had on 7 May transferred the trial in Kathua gangrape from Jammu and Kashmir to Pathankot in Punjab, but refrained from handing over the probe to the CBI saying there was no need as the investigation has been conducted and the charge-sheet filed.


The victim, from a minority nomadic community, had disappeared from near her home in a village close to Kathua in the Jammu region on 10 January. Her body was found in the same area a week later.

The state police has filed the main charge-sheet against seven persons and a separate charge-sheet against a juvenile in a court in Kathua district.

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Topics:  Jammu and Kashmir   Kathua   Pathankot 

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