Delhi Gang Rape Update Supreme Court dismisses Transfer Petition
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Delhi Gang Rape Update Supreme Court dismisses Transfer Petition

Bar & Bench

The Supreme Court today dismissed the Transfer Petition (Petition) seeking transfer of the trial of Delhi gang rape from New Delhi to any other State. The Petition had been filed by Advocate M. L. Sharma on behalf of the accused Mukesh claiming that due to the public uproar and the media hype surrounding the incident, there was great public pressure on the police and even the judicial officers to punish the accused.

The Supreme Court today dismissed the Transfer Petition (Petition) seeking transfer of the trial of Delhi gang rape from New Delhi to any other State. The Petition had been filed by Advocate M. L. Sharma on behalf of the accused Mukesh claiming that due to the public uproar and the media hype surrounding the incident, there was great public pressure on the police and even the judicial officers to punish the accused. Sharma, therefore claimed that the accused would not get a fair trial in New Delhi.

The matter had initially come up for hearing before the Court on January 23, 2012 when Advocate V.K. Anand contested the locus standi of Sharma by claiming that he was the counsel for Mukesh and produced a vakalatnama to that effect. Confronted with two vakalatnamas, the Court had ordered that the accused would be given an opportunity to clarify in the Sessions Court about who his counsel would be. It would, then, decide the matter based on a report from the Sessions Court on the same.

When the matter came up for hearing today, the Court opened the report from the Sessions Court which stated that the accused, Mukesh, had clarified that Anand would be his advocate in the case. Sharma reiterated that the accused had been tortured into choosing Anand as his advocate and even claimed that he had a fresh vakalatnama signed by Mukesh the previous day. The Court, however, chose to go by the report from the Sessions Court.

Sharma, subsequently, submitted that he would contest the petition in his individual capacity and cited precedents to the effect that any interested person could contest a transfer petition under Section 406 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The Court, however, declined to entertain these arguments, holding that Advocate Anand had already made it clear that he was not seeking transfer of the trial outside Delhi.  The Court, therefore, dismissed the Petition and held that the vakalatnama signed by the accused in favour of Sharma and Advocate on Record N. Rajaraman will stand discharged.

As a consequence of this, M. L. Sharma shall no longer be representing Mukesh in the trial before the Fast Track Court in Saket, Delhi.

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