The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to allow the Kerala government’s petition to try a judge in a court hearing the sexual assault case against movie star Dileep.
A three-judge bank headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar found no reason to prejudice the judge for his comments.
“You took up a statement from the judge to allege bias. What circumstances were created to make such statements … a lot depends on it. Where is the question of bias? “asked the bank, which also included judges BR Gavai and Krishna Murari.
Senior attorney Ranjit Kumar, who appeared on the charges, told the court that the charges were brought in January and a month later the charges moved to change the charges. To date, no decision has been made.
He further alleged that a fair trial in the present court was not possible because the eighth defendant, actor Dileep, aka P Gopalakrishnan, filed a petition to send the cloned copy of the seized memory card for a second review by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) without delivering this to the prosecutor or the victim. The copy of the CFSL report was not provided to prosecutors prior to cross-examination, the petition says.
“The procedure used by the presiding judge is intended to favor the eighth defendant,” said Kumar, adding that the presiding judge commented on October 14 that what is going on in court is not prosecution but “prostitution”. The judge had previously ordered the prosecution witnesses not to meet the special prosecutor.
Prosecutors also stated that the trial judge remained a “silent bystander” when the victim was “harassed and intimidated” by the defendant’s lawyers during cross-examination.
The Supreme Court was not impressed by the allegations made by the state. “You complicate your own case and put pressure on the judge. Don’t make such charges of bias. Let the courts work and the judges do their job. With so much pressure and media hype in this case, these allegations (of bias) will unnecessarily discourage the judge, ”the bank noted.
The state has been given the option of either replacing the special prosecutor or going to the Supreme Court if the motion to change the charges against the accused is not accepted.
“If the prosecutor is uncomfortable, put someone in his place, but don’t bias the judge,” the court said when it rejected the state government’s appeal.
However, the ruling clarified that rejecting the state’s appeal will not prevent the state from proceeding with its pending motion before the trial judge or appealing the adverse comments made by the presiding judge.
The state told the Apex court that it would take time to replace the prosecutor on the case.
According to the prosecution, the incident occurred in February 2017. The victim, who has appeared in several South Indian films, was kidnapped in her car and allegedly molested. The defendant forced his way into the car on the night of February 17, 2017 and even filmed the entire incident in order to blackmail the actor. There were a total of ten defendants, of whom the police arrested seven people. Actor Dileep was subsequently arrested and joined as the eighth accused. He was released on bail in October 2017 after being detained for nearly three months.