The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea to shift the trial in Delhi gang rape-cum-murder case to a place outside the national capital.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir rejected a transfer petition, which was claimed to have been filed on behalf of one of the six accused in the case.
The bench passed the order after going through the report filed by the sessions court in which it was said that advocate M L Sharma, who appeared before it on the transfer plea issue, had been given no authority by the accused to argue on his behalf.
"Your authority to appear in this matter has been totally denied by the accused," the bench said after going through the report.
Sharma then pleaded that he should be heard as an independent person in the case.
The bench, however, refused to allow him to argue in the case, saying, "We are unable to accept Sharma's submissions in the facts and circumstances of the case."
The controversy in the case arose after two advocates M L Sharma and V K Anand appeared before the apex court claiming to represent one of the accused Mukesh when the transfer petition came up for hearing.
The bench had then asked the sessions court, which is holding the trial in the case, to talk to Mukesh to find out who is his real counsel and whether he wanted to pursue the case for transfer of trial to a place outside Delhi.
The sessions court, after talking to the accused, filed a report in a sealed cover before the bench.
Mukesh is among the accused in the gang rape-cum-murder case of a 23-year-old paramedical student. She was gang-raped and brutally assaulted by six persons in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16 last and then dumped on the road. She died in a Singapore hospital on December 29.
Mukesh, who along with four others has been charged with murder, gang rape and unnatural offences, had alleged in the petition that in view of regular agitations, police and judicial officials were under pressure to pass orders according to the demands of the agitators and, hence, a fair hearing was not possible.
"The sentiment has gone into the root of each home in Delhi by which even the judicial officers and the state are not spared and in these circumstances, he cannot get justice in Delhi at all," the petition had said.
It had said, "Due to media reports and agitations and due to political statements and personal interest shown by the chief minister as well as various cabinet ministers, judiciary is under pressure to work against the petitioner."
Besides Mukesh, bus driver Ram Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur, have been made accused in the case. They have been also charged with offences of attempt to murder, kidnapping, dacoity, hurting while committing robbery, destruction of evidence, criminal conspiracy and common intention under the Indian Penal Code.
Except Thakur, who was arrested from Aurangabad in Bihar on December 22, rest four accused were arrested within 24 hours of the incident.
Their sixth accomplice was yesterday declared a minor and is being tried separately before the Juvenile Justice Board.