Delhi gang-rape: Court for in-camera hearing, media restrained from reporting
New Delhi: The hearing in the case of December 16 gang-rape-cum-murder of a paramedical student ended on Monday.
Next hearing in the case is scheduled to take place on January 10 at 2:30 pm.
The details of what happened inside the Saket district court are awaited as the judge had earlier in the day ordered in-camera proceedings in the case after a lot of chaos.
The lawyers, who are not concerned with the case, and journalists were asked to leave the courtroom. Furthermore, the Saket court had ordered that no material linked to the proceedings can be published without its permission.
Metropolitan Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal said: "An unprecedented situation arises when members of bar and public persons not connected with the case also have started converging the courtroom No 207 where the present matter is going on since 12 noon."
"The courtroom has become jampacked with lots of disturbance created from different nooks and corners," observed the court.
"It has become impossible to proceed in the case. I am passing order for in-camera proceeding. It shall not be lawful to print and publish any article in media without court permission."
The five accused arrived in the Saket district court premises earlier in the day, but could not be presented before the metropolitan magistrate as a huge crowd of journalists, lawyers and onlookers packed into the courtroom.
The court then said it would not hear the case unless the crowd dispersed. The metropolitan magistrate said that there was no space in the courtroom to present the five accused and left for her chamber.
The judge came back only after Saket Bar office bearers came and restored order.
"Keeping in view the situation which has arisen in the present case, making it impossible to proceed with the court proceedings, I am invoking Section 327 (2) and (3) Cr.PC.
"The proceedings in this case from now on proceed under Section 327 (2) Cr.PC. I.E. The inquiry and the trial shall be held in camera," the magistrate said in her two-page order.
The order was passed on an application moved by Special Public Prosecutor Rajeev Mohan, who expressed apprehensions over the safety of the under trial prisoners.
The judge said she is also invoking provision Section 327 (3) Cr.PC at the request of the SPP under which "it shall not be lawful for any person to print or publish any matter in relation to the proceedings in this case except with the permission of this court."
On the applications of counsel for being appointed as amicus curiae, the judge said they have been taken on record and the counsel are requested to approach the accused directly and appear in court only with their signed vakalatnama.
Public prosecutor Rajiv Mohan moved an application for in-camera proceedings, two-days after Delhi police issued an advisory that the proceedings in the case cannot be reported as the court has already taken cognisance of the charge sheet, under sections 302 (murder), 376 (2)(g) (gangrape) and other provisions of the Indian Penal Code.
Around 40 security personnel are also deployed inside the courtroom for security.
Controversy has arisen over who will defend the five accused - the sixth is a juvenile - alleged to have gang-raped and tortured the young physiotherapy intern in a moving bus on December 16. She died of her injuries in a Singapore hospital on December 29.
Some lawyers on Monday said they were willing to represent the accused but others expressed their anguish.
The sixth accused, who is 17 years and six months old according to his school certificates, will be presented before a juvenile justice board.
Two of the six accused on Sunday expressed the wish to turn into state witnesses. Vinay Sharma, a gym instructor, and Pawan Gupta, a fruit-seller, had confessed to their crime when brought before the court on December 19.
The two said they wanted to be witnesses in the case and refused to take the service of a legal aid counsel.
The five accused have been chargesheeted under Sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 376 (2)(g) (gang-rape), 377 (unnatural offences), 395 (dacoity), 396 (murder in dacoity), 365 (kidnapping or abduction with intent to secretly or wrongfully confine a person), 394 (hurting in dacoity), 201 (destruction of evidence), 120B (conspiracy), 34 (common intention), 412 (dishonestly receiving stolen property), and 397 (robbery or dacoity with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt) of the IPC.
The incident has caused widespread rage and protests all over the nation, with protests being staged in several major cities, mainly in Delhi.