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Shame City: Saket court orders in-camera trial

Shame City: Saket court  orders in-camera trial
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A Saket court on Monday ordered in-camera proceedings in the 16 December gang-rape case following the ‘unprecedented situation’ in the courtroom with crowds of reporters, lawyers, security personnel and onlookers. The court also restrained the media from reporting any news related to the case without its permission.

Metropolitan Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal said: ‘An unprecedented situation arises when members of bar and public persons not connected with the case also have started converging the courtroom No. 207 where the present matter is going on since 12 noon.’

‘The courtroom has become jampacked with lots of disturbance created from different nooks and corners,’ observed the court. ‘It has become impossible to proceed in the case. I am passing order for in-camera proceeding. It shall not be lawful to print and publish any article in media without court permission.’

Five of the six men accused in the gang-rape of a 23-year-old had arrived in the Saket district court premises here but could not be presented before the metropolitan magistrate as the courtroom was too crowded. The sixth accused, who is 17 years and six months old according to school certificates, will be presented before a juvenile justice board.


NO ROOM FOR ACCUSED IN COURT

Five of the six men accused in the gangrape of a 23-year-old arrived in the Saket district court premises here on Monday, but could not be presented before the metropolitan magistrate as a huge crowd of journalists, lawyers and onlookers packed into the courtroom.

The court said it would not hear the case unless the crowd dispersed. Metropolitan Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal said that there was no space in the courtroom to present the five accused and left for her chamber.

Around 40 security personnel are also deployed inside the courtroom for security.

Controversy has arisen over who will defend the five accused - the sixth is a juvenile - alleged to have gang-raped and tortured the young physiotherapy intern in a moving bus on 16 December.

She died of her injuries in a Singapore hospital on 29 December.

Some lawyers Monday said they were willing to represent the accused but others expressed their anguish.One advocate told the court that he was approached by the family of the accused, asking him to defend them.

‘I was approached by the family of accused, I should be allowed to meet them here to sign the ‘vakalatnama’ (contract with the lawyer),’ said the advocate.

To this, the judge said he would not be allowed to meet the accused and could go to Tihar Jail to sign the papers.

Two lawyers, Krishan Nautiyal and Neeraj Kumar, representing media reporters, also told the court that Delhi Police had issued an advisory to the media not to report the court proceedings. ‘They have no power to issue such kind of advisory to media,’ the lawyers said.

The court said that it would not pass any order on that; an order would be passed if the prosecution filed an application. This means that the media can report the court proceedings.

The sixth accused, who is 17 years and six months old according to his school certificates, will be presented before a juvenile justice board.

Two of the six accused Sunday expressed the wish to turn into state witnesses.

Vinay Sharma, a gym instructor, and Pawan Gupta, a fruit-seller, had confessed to their crime when brought before the court on 19 December.

The two said they wanted to be witnesses in the case and refused to take the service of a legal aid counsel. The incident has caused widespread rage and protests all over the nation, with protests being staged in several major cities, mainly in Delhi.


NOTICE ISSUED ON LAWYERS’ PLEA AGAINST PROCEEDINGS


A Delhi court on Monday issued notice to the city government on a plea filed by a group of lawyers challenging the decision to hold the 16 December gangrape case proceedings in-camera.

Seeking ‘pre-trial proceedings’ of the case to be held in a ‘transparent manner’, the lawyers moved the district judge’s court after Metropolitan Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal passed an order restraining public, including the media, from attending and reporting the case.

District Judge R K Gauba, passing the order on the lawyers’ plea, said, ‘At this stage, Inder Kumar, additional public prosecutor for Delhi government, take notice. The APP submits he would need time to collect the facts and inform the concerned prosecutor.’ ‘Put up for filing of copy of order, reply and further consideration on 9 January 2013.’

Advocates Poonam Kaushik and D.K. Misra in their plea sought that the court set aside Aggarwal’s order directing further proceedings in the case to be held in-camera by invoking section 324 (2) and (3) CrPc.

During the hearing, the advocate also brought to the notice of Gauba that Delhi Police had issued advisory to the media restraining them from publishing the news related to the case.

To this, the judge observed that in the absence of any order from the court, the ‘police advisory is not binding’. Aggarwal earlier in the day ordered in-camera proceedings in the 16 December gangrape case following an ‘unprecedented situation’ of overcrowding inside the courtroom by reporters, lawyers, security personnel and onlookers. The court also restrained the media from reporting any news related to the case without its permission.
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