While ordering an in-camera proceedings in the case of December 16 gangrape-cum-murder of a paramedical student, the Delhi court hearing the case on Monday restrained the media from reporting on the matter.
The court order came soon after the police not produce the five of the six accused before the metropolitan magistrate as a huge crowd of journalists, lawyers and onlookers packed into the courtroom in the Saket district court premises.
The court said it would not hear the case unless the crowd dispersed. Metropolitan magistrate Namrita Aggarwal said there was no space in the courtroom to present the five accused and left for her chamber. Around 40 security personnel are also deployed inside the courtroom for security.
Controversy has kicked off over who will defend the five accused alleged to have gang-raped and tortured the 23-year-old physiotherapy intern in a moving bus on December 16. She died of her injuries in a Singapore hospital December 29.
While some lawyers expressed their willingness to represent the accused, others collectively shied away from defending them in court. One of the advocates, Mohan Lal Sharma, told the court that he was approached by the family of the accused, asking him to defend them. "I should be allowed to meet them here to sign the vakalatnama (contract with the lawyer)," Sharma said, which the magistrate disallowed, while asking him to go to Tihar Jail to get the papers signed.
Two lawyers, Krishan Nautiyal and Neeraj Kumar, representing media reporters, also told the court that Delhi Police had issued an advisory to the media not to report the court proceedings. "They have no power to issue such kind of advisory to media," the lawyers said.
The court said that it would not pass any order on that; an order would be passed if the prosecution filed an application. This means that the media can report the court proceedings.
The sixth accused, who is 17 years and six months old according to his school certificates, will be presented before a juvenile justice board.
Two of the six accused Sunday expressed the wish to turn into state witnesses. Vinay Sharma, a gym instructor, and Pawan Gupta, a fruit-seller, had confessed to their crime when brought before the court on Dec 19.
The two said they wanted to be witnesses in the case and refused to take the service of a legal aid counsel.
The incident has caused widespread rage and protests all over the nation, with protests being staged in several major cities, mainly in Delhi.