Nun’s ‘rape’: Apex court stays trial in Odisha

February 13th, 2012 - 11:09 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 13 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday stayed the trial in the alleged rape of a nun during the 2008 communal violence in Odisha.

The victim alleged that Aug 25, 2008, at the height of the communal riots in Kandhamal district, she was attacked by a mob that molested, assaulted, stripped naked and raped her.

The apex court bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice S.S. Nijjar stayed the trial on the petition by the victim seeking the recall of Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate Prasanta Kumar Das, who recorded her statement during the identification parade of the suspects.

She alleged that after the identification parade, Das recorded that the victim had identified accused Santosh Kumar Patnaik. She could not identify any other suspect. It further said that suspect gave “her a slap, pulled her saree” … groped her “and did not commit any other overt act”.

The victim contended that the part of the statement by Das that the culprits “did not commit any other overt act” was contrary to the prosecution case.

As the counsel for the suspects sought to oppose the plea saying that the victim was trying to delay the proceedings, Justice Kabir asked him “a women is raped, molested or something has happened to her. What is her interest in delaying the proceedings”.

The victim alleged that her plea for recall of Das, who is a witness in the case, was rejected by the trial court. She said she appealed before the session court and subsequently before the high court. The high court rejected her plea Jan 5.

The trial court by its May 16, 2011 order rejected her plea holding that complainant could not move an application for the recall of the witnesses.

The high court by its Jan 5 order held that “no private person has any role to play in the trial beyond the limit prescribed therein”.

The apex court Monday issued notice to the Odisha government and other accused and stayed the trial in that case.

The case would next be heard March 22.

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