Kathua case accused seek nod to vote - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Kathua case accused seek nod to vote

Kathua case accused seek nod to vote

Ravi Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Pathankot, April 10

Two of the seven accused in the Kathua case, in which an eight-year-old girl belonging to the minority Bakerwal community was gangraped and later murdered while being held in captivity in a village temple in Kathua in January last year, have sought the court permission to vote in the second phase of the elections slated to be held on April 18.

The two accused - Sanjhi Ram and head constable Tilak Raj - belong to J&K and have requested Pathankot District and Sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh, who is overseeing the trial on the orders of the Supreme Court, to give them authorisation so that they could exercise their franchise.

The judge has ordered the Gurdaspur jail superintendent to provide a detailed report tomorrow.

Special Public Prosecutors (SPP) Santokh Singh Basra and Jagdeeshwar Kumar Chopra have also been asked to file their reply.

Seven of the eight accused are lodged in the Gurdaspur central jail. They are taken to the Pathankot court daily under escort provided by the Pathankot and Gurdaspur police. The eighth accused is a juvenile and is not lodged in the jail.

Sanjhi Ram is the main accused, while others are his son Vishal Jangotra, Special Police Officers (SPOs) Surinder Verma and Deepak Khajuria, Sub-Inspectors Anand Dutta and Parvesh Kumar and head constable Tilak Raj. The juvenile is a nephew of Sanjhi Ram.

Defense counsel Vinod Mahajan contended that the accused had a right to seek permission to vote. “They have a constitutional right to vote. They are undertrials and not convicts. Hence, they are eligible to cast their votes. The rules state prisoners cannot vote. However, they are not prisoners as they have not yet been convicted,” he maintained.

The Supreme Court has directed that the trial be held on day-to-day basis.

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