AP Photo/ Manish Swarup
Delhi Gang-Rape: Court Orders In-Camera Hearing
Amidst high drama and commotion over providing counsel for the accused, a local court today ordered in-camera proceedings and a ban on media coverage of the case of the gangrape and murder of a Delhi girl in a bus.
The court of the Metropolitan Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal witnessed scenes of commotion when lawyers of the Saket Bar Association objected to lawyer M L Sharma seeking to appear for the five accused, who were to be produced in the court.
A horde of lawyers, media persons, police men and more than hundred people thronged the court before the magistrate took her seat and the production of the five accused could not be done because of the melee.
The Saket Bar, which had decided not to represent the accused because of the heinous crime, argued with Sharma and sought to prevent him in his move. Meanwhile another lawyer V K Anand also wanted to present himself as amicus curaie.
The judge, who meanwhile arrived on the scene, retreated to her chamber and came back only after Saket Bar office bearers came and restored order.
"Keeping in view the situation which has arisen in the present case, making it impossible to proceed with the court proceedings, I am invoking Section 327 (2) and (3) Cr.PC.
"The proceedings in this case from now on proceed under Section 327 (2) Cr.PC. I.E. The inquiry and the trial shall be held in camera," the magistrate said in her two-page order.
The order was passed on an application moved by Special Public Prosecutor Rajeev Mohan, who expressed apprehensions over the safety of the under trial prisoners.
Earlier, the lockup incharge of the court said he was unable to bring the accused to the court for want for safe passage or room in the court hall.
Challenging the order, some lawyers moved the District Judge R K Gauba praying for setting it aside. Gauba issued notice to the Delhi Police and posted the matter for Wednesday.
The judge said she is also invoking provision Section 327 (3) Cr.PC at the request of the SPP under which "it shall not be lawful for any person to print or publish any matter in relation to the proceedings in this case except with the permission of this court."
On the applications of counsel for being appointment as amicus curiae, the judge said they have been taken on record and the counsel are requested to approach the accused directly and appear in court only with their signed vakalatnama.
Referring to the commotion in the court room, the judge said an unprecedented situation has arisen wherein members of Bar and a large number of people unconnected with the case had converged in the court room.
"The court room has become jam-packed with a lot of disturbance created from different nooks and corners," the judge said adding that the persons assembled in the court unconnected with the case were repeatedly asked to clear but with no effect.
"These persons are not prepared to leave the court room. It is a case virtually of a crowd occupying every inch of space in the court room even to the extent of standing next to the sitting space alloted to the Reader and Stenographer. It has become completely impossible for the court proceedings to proceed in this case," the order said. PTI PPS HMP RKS n camera by Special Public Prosecutor in this case. Hence, all public persons and everybody present in the court room are directed to vacate the court room.
"It shall not be lawful to print or publish any matter or content in this case except with the permission of this court," the judge said in the order.
Challenging the order, some lawyers filed an application before the District Judge R K Gauba for lifting the curb on the media.
Gauba issued notice to the Delhi Police and posted the issue for hearing on Janaury 9.
Public prosecutor Rajiv Mohan moved an application for in-camera proceedings, two-days after Delhi police issued an advisory that the proceedings in the case cannot be reported as the court has already taken cognisance of the charge sheet, under sections 302 (murder), 376 (2)(g) (gangrape) and other provisions of the Indian Penal Code.
Allowing the police plea, the court said, "An unprecedented situation has arisen where the members of the bar and public persons even unconnected with the case have started converging in the courtroom where the matter is going on, since 12 noon. The court room has become jam-packed with lots of disturbance created from from different nooks and corners.
"The persons who have assembled, not even connected with the case, have been repeatedly asked to wait outside so that court proceedings can start.
"But they are not prepared to leave the court. It is a case of virtually the crowd occupying every inch of space in the court room even to the extent of standing next to the reader and stenographer."
The court said,"...So the accused, who were brought from Central Jail, Tihar, in pursuance of production warrant issued to them for today, were not produced from custody."
However, later the five were produced before the court which has posted the hearing for January 10 by when scrutiny of documents will take place before the case is committed to Sessions.
Earlier, the judge also said, "the Saket Court Complex' lock-up incharge has said that he is unable to bring the accused in the court for want of safe passage or room in the court room."
She said in her order, "the public prosecutor has submitted that there is apprehension to safety of under-trial prisoners. He has also filed an application for invocation of 327 (2)(iii)."
Meanwhile, the court dismissed the application moved by advocates for being appointed as amicus curiae in the case saying the accused will be provided legal aid.
She also said if the accused themselves want any individual lawyer to be appointed for them, then only the defence counsel in the case shall appear before this court.
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