The proceedings in the case of gangrape and murder of the 23-year-old girl in a bus in Delhi will be held in camera, a local court on Monday ordered after the five accused were produced before it.
Metropolitan Magistrarte Namrita Aggarwal also restrained the media from reporting and publishing the proceedings of the case in the court after the Delhi police filed and application for in-camera proceedings.
"Keeping in view the situation which has arisen in this case, proceedings, including the inquiry and the trial, to be held in-camera. I am invoking section 327 (2)(iii) of Cr PC.
Hence, all public persons and everybody present in the court room are directed to vacate the court room. It shall not be lawful to print or publish any matter or content in this case except with the permission of this court," the judge said in the order.
Challenging the order, some lawyers filed an application before the District Judge R K Gauba for lifting the curb on the media. Gauba issued notice to the Delhi police and posted the issue for hearing on January 9.
Public prosecutor Rajiv Mohan moved an application for in-camera proceedings, two-days after the Delhi police issued an advisory that the proceedings in the case cannot be reported as the court has already taken cognisance of the chargesheet, under sections 302 (murder), 376 (2)(g) (gangrape) and other provisions of the Indian Penal Code.
Allowing the police plea, the court said, "An unprecedented situation has arisen where the members of the bar and public persons even unconnected with the case have started converging in the courtroom where the matter is going on, since 12 noon. The court room has become jam-packed with lots of disturbance created from different nooks and corners.
"The persons who have assembled, not even connected with the case, have been repeatedly asked to wait outside so that court proceedings can start. But they are not prepared to leave the court. It is a case of virtually the crowd occupying every inch of space in the court room even to the extent of standing next to the reader and stenographer."
The court said,"So the accused, who were brought from Central Jail, Tihar, in pursuance of production warrant issued to them for Monday, were not produced from custody."
However, later the five were produced before the court which has posted the hearing for January 10 by when scrutiny of documents will take place before the case is committed to sessions.
Earlier, the judge also said, "The Saket court complex' lock-up in-charge has said that he is unable to bring the accused in the court for want of safe passage or room in the court room."
She said in her order, "The public prosecutor has submitted that there is apprehension to safety of under-trial prisoners. He has also filed an application for invocation of 327 (2)(iii)."
Meanwhile, the court dismissed the application moved by advocates for being appointed as amicus curiae in the case saying the accused will be provided legal aid. She also said if the accused themselves want any individual lawyer to be appointed for them, then only the defence counsel in the case shall appear before this court.