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SC stays trial in Kathua rape and murder

New Delhi, April 27: The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the trial in the rape and murder of a young girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir as it asked the accused to respond to the plea for the transfer of trial to Chandigarh. Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Indu Malhotra stayed the trial which was listed for Saturday in Kathua, saying it would hold a hearing on the plea for transfer of trial on May 7. The victim’s father has moved the top court seeking the transfer of trial from Kathua to Chandigarh. Earlier, the Jammu and Kashmir government had opposed the transfer of the trial saying that the state had a different penal code – Ranbir Penal Code – and transfer of trial would pose inconvenience to the witnesses. Appearing for the victim’s father, senior counsel Indira Jaising, while seeking the transfer of trial to Chandigarh – which she said was the next destination in proximity of Kathua, also urged the court to monitor the trial. She also told the court that except for the name, both Indian Penal Code and Ranbir Penal Code were same. The top court had on April 26 said that it would shift the Kathua gang-rape and murder trial out of Jammu and Kashmir at the “slightest possibility of lack of a fair trial”. Meanwhile, the Central government on Friday told the top court that it would extend whatever assistance was required from it.  (IANS)