November 17, 2018
From the past two days the whole of news world ran the story of Kathua child rape & murder victim Asifa’s lawyer being dumped by the parents of the girl. For some seasoned observers this came as no shock, and for others who were wanting that justice be given to the girl have felt a heavy jolt. This is not the first time that strong
supporters of justice have been trampled in India.
This case is of 8 year old Asifa from Kathua, Jammu Kashmir who was kidnapped, drugged, and raped and held captive in a temple for some days and was killed and burnt later. The whole of India was shocked to see such henious crime been done to a small child. Many were already recovering from another big shocking cases like those of Nirbhaya which happened in Delhi. Day and again we are witnessing such crimes against women and children being done in India. Shockingly the accused in the case were militantly supported by a prominent political party of India.
Many people started negative campaign against this lawyer as she belonged to the community of the accused and was given various abuses for fighting for justice, was also accused on twitter for swindling funds taken for this case. She represented the case at various places and slowly it became an international case.
Some sections of the media are jubiliant on this news and say this removal of the lawyer was done as Ms Deepika Singh Rajawat, the lawyer under discussion has been inefficient as she attended only 2-3 hearings in about 110 of them. Some even say that she was being irresponsible for the above. We wanted to know what actually the story is and has she actually sidelined her responsibility.
Responding to Awam Media regarding removal from the case, Advocate Deepika says “It is astonishing. In February 2018, being a lawyer and activist I contacted the family for filing a Writ Petition in the High Court (J&K) seeking monitoring of crime investigation. There are some basics things which everyone needs to understand before we react. We are civilised people and have to react accordingly. At that time I provided pro-bono service to them, why would I withdraw it now? I filed the Writ Petition in the High Court on behalf of the biological father of the victim. Investigation continued till April and was monitored by the High Court. Only after filing of the Writ Petition, we found seriousness done in the case.
In April, hue and cry was created in media, and it became an international issue, then the chargesheet was produced before the Kathua Court. The local lawyers were not allowing the Crime Branch to file the charge-sheet, as it was creating embarrassment for some persons. That time I suggested the parents that this situation and
place is not suitable for the trial to take place peacefully, it is better to approach the Hon’ble Supreme Court to seek transfer of the case. I went with the parents to the Hon’ble Supreme Court, and Indira Jaising Senior Advocate filed a joint application for transfer of the trial, which was duly granted.
According to Sec 24 of CRPC in India and from other Supreme Court Judgements, in criminal cases, the trial will be conducted by the Public Prosecutors only. I being a private lawyer cannot conduct trial there, cannot argue, cannot cross-examine, unless I am specially appointed as a Public Prosecutor which did not happen. I did not
dump them or leave them. I was there with the family. Ms Indira Jaising appeared for the family in Supreme Court, but is she also appearing in Pathankot too?
I have no role to play in the trial at Kathua.