Kerala HC reserves verdict on plea against trial judge in actress abduction case against Dileep

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The victim told the court that the trial court judge sat as a mute spectator while she was harassed with questions that were irrelevant and pertained to her conduct.for over 9-10 days, predominantly by lawyers engaged by Dileep.

The Kerala High Court, on Monday, November 16, reserved orders on the petitions seeking transfer of trial in the abduction and assault case, in which Malayalam actor Dileep is an accused, from the judge currently hearing the case to another judge.

A Bench of Justice VG Arun reserved the order after hearing detailed submissions in the plea by the victim and the prosecution, who accused Additional Sessions Court, where the case is presently being heard, of showing bias in the trial.

They expressed the fear that the continuation of the trial in the court would defeat the ends of the just. The high court had stayed the trial after admitting the petition filed by the victim, a popular actress in Malayalam cinema. Curiously, the judge was appointed by the high court after the victim sought a woman judge to hear the case.

Senior Advocate Sreekumar, who represented the victim, said that the woman judge was sought specifically during the victim's testimony. However, the judge sat as a mute spectator, while the lawyers of the accused raised questions about her character and conduct.

He told the court that the victim was cross-examined for over 9-10 days, predominantly by lawyers engaged by Dileep. They harassed her with questions that were irrelevant and pertained to her conduct.

Even after the victim as well as the prosecution voiced concerns about the fairness of the trial, the judge proceeded to continue with the trial, the lawyers contended.

The counsel further submitted that despite the High Court's order deferring trial, the trial judge continued hearing interim petitions filed in the case.

The judge ought to have recused herself and written to the High Court after such allegations about lack of fairness and bias were made, the counsel submitted. This was necessary, since it was the High Court that appointed her and since both the prosecution and the victim alleged bias, they stated.

Taking all these submissions on record, Justice Arun proceeded to reserve the matter for orders.

Dileep and other accused in the case are being tried for hatching a conspiracy to take revenge on the victim by having her abducted, sexually assaulted and photographed. Six persons were arrested and arrayed as accused. It was alleged that the victim had a role to play in Dileep’s separation from his former wife.

Meanwhile, Kerala police have registered a case against the private secretary of actor-turned legislator Ganesh Kumar for threatening an approver in the case. The police have filed a report in a court in Kasargod against Pradeep Kumar in this connection.

Police said that Pradeep Kumar had threatened the approver after he refused to reverse the statement he gave against Dileep and other accused (with inputs from Bar & Bench)

Image Credit: The Week

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