SC dismisses plea for court change in actor assault case

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea made by the Kerala government for transferring the trial of the case relating to the abduction and sexual abuse of a female actor in which actor Dileep is an accused.

A Bench led by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar agreed with the Kerala High Court that allegations of bias against the trial judge were unwarranted.

State’s charge

The State government, represented by advocate G. Prakash, had said the trial was marred by incidents of bias towards the prosecution and harassment of the survivor. It was the right of the survivor to get a fair trial, the State underscored.

“During the trial, while the examination of PW1/survivor was going on in-camera, the fifth accused took pictures inside the court hall using his mobile phone. Also, the photographs of the car in which the survivor has been travelling to the court were taken,” the State government appeal had informed the Supreme Court.

“The trial court has remained a mute spectator despite the prosecution bringing these aspects to the notice of the trial court. The proceedings before the trial court is conducted in blatant violation of the CrPC and Indian Evidence Act,” the State had emphasised.

In-camera trial

The government said at least 40 defence lawyers were present during the “in-camera” cross-examination of the survivor. By permitting a large number of lawyers inside the court hall, the very purpose of “in- camera” trial was defeated, the State petition had said.

The trial judge had failed to stop the defence from continuously questioning the victim about the details of the sexual assault even as they questioned her moral character, the appeal said.

At one point, the State said, the trial judge, for no apparent reason, had got “agitated and made unnecessary remarks against the Special Public Prosecutor and the investigating agency and went to the extent of stating that what was going on is not prosecution but prostitution.”

The State had also urged the Supreme Court to immediately stay the trial proceedings before the Special Court in Ernakulam.

The police version of the case said that the actor was held captive and assaulted by some of the accused while on her way to Kochi. They had also taken a video of the incident. The allegation is that Dileep had masterminded the conspiracy.

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