The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the plea of one of the accused in the Delhi gang-rape case seeking transfer of the trial from the national capital to any other state.
The Apex court bench, headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, announced its verdict after it after it received a report from the sessions judge which stated that the accused, Mukesh, did not want his advocate ML Sharma to represent him in the trial. Sharma had submitted the transfer petition on behalf of his client.
Stating that Sharma had no locus standi in the case, the bench said, "Your authority to appear in this matter has been totally denied by the accused," PTI reported.
Sharma then appealed to be heard as an independent person in the case which the bench rejected again saying, "We are unable to accept Sharma's submissions in the facts and circumstances of the case."
During the course of the last hearing on the transfer petition, ML Sharma and another advocate, V.K. Anand, had come forward claiming to be Mukesh's defense lawyers.
When the situation turned controversial, the bench asked the sessions court to speak to Mukesh on deciding his choice of attorney and if he wanted the case to be shifted from Delhi to any other state, preferably Mathura or Coimbatore, as per the petition.
The sessions court submitted its report in a sealed envelope on Tuesday to the bench after discussing the matter with Mukesh. The report mentioned that he wanted to be represented by Anand.
However, Anand claimed in the last hearing that he was not seeking transfer of the case from Delhi to any other states.
According to early reports, Mukesh had appealed the court to shift the trial from Delhi to other state to seeking fair judgement. "The sentiment has gone into the root of each home in Delhi by which even the judicial officers and the state are not spared and in these circumstances, he cannot get justice in Delhi at all," stated the petition submitted by Sharma on behalf of Mukesh.
"Due to media reports and agitations and due to political statements and personal interest shown by the chief minister as well as various cabinet ministers, judiciary is under pressure to work against the petitioner" it added.
Mukesh and his four accomplices are facing charges under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 376 (2)(g) (gangrape), 377 (unnatural offences), 395 (dacoity), 396 (murder in dacoity), 394 (hurting in dacoity), 201 (destruction of evidence), 120-B (conspiracy), 34 (common intention) and 412 (dishonestly receiving stolen property) as per the Indian Penal Code. If convicted, the accused could face death penalty.
One of the six accused in the case will be tried before the Juvenile Justice Board after he was declared a minor by the board on Tuesday.