Gang-rape case: Plea seeking shift of trial out of Delhi adjourned till tomorrow

New Delhi, Jan 22 (ANI): The Supreme Court said that it would hear on Wednesday a petition by one of the six December 16, 2012 gang-rape accused who is seeking transfer of the trial to a place outside Delhi.

Earlier on Monday, the apex court had said it would hear the petition on Tuesday but could not take up the matter due to lack of time, Television reports said.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir directed the listing of the matter for Wednesday.

The bench fixed the hearing after M L Sharma, the lawyer for accused Mukesh Singh, pleaded for an urgent hearing on the grounds that a free and fair hearing is not possible in Delhi because of the strong public sentiment against him.

Mukesh, who has been charged with murder, gangrape and unnatural offences, submitted in his petition that in view of the regular agitation, police and judicial officials are allegedly under pressure to pass orders according to the demands of the agitators.

He referred to protests that are held regularly at Jantar Mantar where students and activists are calling for swift justice and tougher anti-rape laws.

Sharma had earlier said that the statements issued by the Prime Minister, other leaders and officials, have given direct message to the judicial authorities about what they should do and how they should handle the case.

"I need a judge to hear the matter, who is himself not biased. The judge should not sit for a trial if he or she has sympathy for the victim. I have no objection about anyone having sentimental feelings for the victim, but there should be no bias," said Sharma.

"Despite our repeated requests that they should not be handcuffed, the court is disagreeing to that. If the judiciary is under pressure, people are under pressure, then I cannot get a fair trial for my client Mukesh," he added.

The victim, a physiotherapy student, was brutally raped and assaulted in a moving bus on the night of December 16, 2012. She died of her injuries on December 29, 2012 in the multi-specialty Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

Her male friend, who was accompanying her that day, was also assaulted by the accused and both of them were thrown out of the bus. (ANI)