x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

India's Supreme Court denies request to move rape trial out of New Delhi

Legal experts raise concerns over the public pressure on the judge in the case of the men accused of abducting the woman and repeatedly raping her on a moving bus on December 16.

Indians participate in a protest against gender discrimination and sexual violence in New Delhi on Saturday. Altaf Qadri / AP Photo
Indians participate in a protest against gender discrimination and sexual violence in New Delhi on Saturday. Altaf Qadri / AP Photo

NEW DELHI // India's Supreme Court today rejected an application to move the trial of five men accused of the fatal gang-rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi.

A three-judge bench dismissed the petition, which argued that the men could not get a fair trial in the capital, because the lawyer who filed it had ceased to represent one of the defendants.

Legal experts have raised concerns over the public pressure on the judge in New Delhi hearing the case of the men accused of abducting the woman and repeatedly raping her on a moving bus on December 16.

The incident has sparked violent protests and a bout of soul-searching in India about the treatment of women. The victim's family have led calls for prompt verdicts and the death penalty.

The case is being held in a "fast-track" court set up after the gang-rape, which is designed to deliver justice more quickly than the rest of the system where cases often take years to come to trial.

The petition to move the trial out of New Delhi was filed by lawyer ML Sharma, who said he was acting on behalf of defendant Mukesh Singh.

The three-judge bench hearing the petition said Mr Singh had since appointed VK Anand as his counsel, meaning the original petition was void.