SC Dismisses Plea Alleging Custodial Torture of Kathua Witness

The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea claiming that a key witness in the Kathua gangrape and murder case was allegedly tortured in custody by the Jammu and Kashmir Police in connection with a separate rape case.

A bench comprising justices AM Khanwilkar and Deepak Gupta rejected the petition filed by a close relative a key witness in the Kathua case, on the ground that the petitioner failed to appear before it despite the court’s order.

In January, an eight-year-old girl from a minority nomadic community was allegedly abducted and gang-raped in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district.

The petitioner had approached the top court alleging that his relative was tortured in custody by the state police after being arrested in connection with a separate rape case.

The advocate representing the Jammu and Kashmir Police had last month denied in the top court the allegations levelled in the petition and had said since the witness has been granted bail, the plea has become ‘infructuous’.

On 22 October, the court had asked the petitioner to appear before it on 13 November to respond to the application filed by his advocate seeking his discharge from the case.

“Despite our order dated 22 October, the writ petitioner has chosen not to appear before this court to respond to the application for discharge filed by the advocate on record for the petitioner.

“In the circumstances, the writ petition is dismissed for non-prosecution,” the bench said in its 13 November order.

In his plea, the petitioner had alleged that the witness was kept in illegal detention by police and was subjected to custodial torture.

The apex court had earlier transferred the trial in the Kathua gangrape and murder case from Jammu and Kashmir to Pathankot in Punjab.

The state police’s crime branch had filed the main charge sheet against seven persons and a separate charge sheet against a juvenile in a court in Kathua district in the gangrape and murder case.

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Updated: November 18, 2018 — 11:32 am