BCI gives clean chit Jammu and Kathua lawyers, concludes media misreported the incident

A Committee of the Bar Council of India (BCI), headed by a former High Court Judge, after thorough investigation has reached the conclusion that the media has misreported the entire episode involving the conduct of the Jammu Bar Association and Kathua Bar Association during the Kathua rape controversy and that there is no material evidence to support Deepika Rajawat’s claim that she was threatened. The Committee was formed after the Supreme Court had directed the BCI to set up an investigative team to get to the bottom of the issue.

In addition, the Committee concluded that demands for a CBI investigation, by the bar associations and Civil Society due to their belief in the shoddy nature of the investigation, into the alleged rape and murder of the 8-year old in Kathua appears to be justifiable. To form its conclusions, the Committee met with lawyers of both associations, district judges, members of the Gujjar and Bakarwal community (to which the victim belonged), counsel for the victim’s family Deepika Rajawat and activist Talib Hussain, senior members of the Bar, and advocates.

The Committee found that no lawyer obstructed the filing of the charge-sheet as alleged and that contrary to reports, none of them sided with the accused. The Committee observed in its report, “The members of the Kathua Bar Association never obstructed any officials of the crime branch in approaching the appropriate court for the purpose of filing the final report.” It stated further, “No member of the Kathua Bar Association had torn or snatched any document of the final report.”

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The Committee also mentions in its reports that they were informed by senior advocates that the agitation was organized due to genuine concerns and that it was misreported by the media. The report also mentions that no advocate was restrained at any point of time from appearing for the deceased’s family, including Advocate Deepika Rajawat, advocate for the crime branch. Further, Advocate Rajawat’s presence in the Court was noticed as depicted in the orders of the High Court dated 9th April and 11th April 2018.

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