Actress assault case: SC dismisses survivor's plea to change trial court

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Supreme Court of India | Photo: Mathrubhumi

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a plea moved by a survivor in a sexual assault case in which actor Dileep is an accused, seeking that the matter be transferred to another lower court.

The survivor had alleged that Dileep, the eighth accused in the case, had close ties with the trial judge and her husband.

A bench of justices Ajay Rastogi and C T Ravikumar said the Kerala High Court had already decided the issue of bias in its judgment.

Rejecting the petitioner's contentions, the high court had, on September 22, said it was of the firm view that her apprehensions regarding a possible interference in a fair trial were not reasonable.

"Possibly, the frequent discussions and debates conducted and being conducted by various news channels in connection with this case for several days and months created some wrong perceptions about the trial of the case, and it apparently influenced the general public at large, including the petitioner.

"Though I do find that this petition is submitted by the petitioner with all bona fides, I have all the reasons to assume that she is a victim of such wrong perceptions and aspersions created by the media," the high court had said.

The petitioner had contended that she would not get justice if the lower court was not changed and that the trial would not be fair.

Incidentally, it was on the survivor's plea that the high court had, in 2018, set up a special court with a woman judge for the trial that had commenced in 2020.

The survivor, in her plea, had also alleged that there were several instances where the special public prosecutor was unable to proceed with the trial and that there were repeated and persistent attempts on Dileep's part to influence and intimidate the witnesses.

She had said when the judge was transferred from a particular court as the principal sessions judge, the case was also transferred to her court and claimed that the transfer of the case by an administrative order was not legal.

The survivor, an actress who has worked in Tamil and Telugu films, was allegedly abducted and molested inside her car for two hours by the accused, who had forced their way into the vehicle on the night of February 17, 2017 and later, escaped in a busy area.

The entire act was filmed by the accused to blackmail the actress, according to the prosecution.

There are 10 accused in the case. PTI

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