There was high drama and commotion at the metropolitan magistrate’s court in Delhi on Monday as a battery of lawyers, policemen and general people gathered to watch the proceedings of the gang-rape case.
“It has become impossible to proceed in the case. I am passing order for in-camera proceeding. It shall not be lawful to print and publish any article in media without court permission,” metropolitan magistrate Namrita Aggarwal said.
Saying there was no space in the courtroom to present the five accused, the magistrate left for her chamber. The five were, however, 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 the sessions court.
On the night of December 16, six men, including one who claims to be a minor, had raped a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus and brutally beaten her and her friend before stripping them and throwing them out of the bus. The woman died of her injuries on December 29 while undergoing treatment at a Singapore hospital.
Advocate DK Mishra, who claims to be an uncle of the woman’s friend, and lawyer Poonam Kaushik moved an application before the district judge, challenging the magistrate’s order.
They alleged the court room was crowded because several policemen were present inside.
In their application, moved on behalf of other lawyers and the people in general, the advocates said: “Passing the order, the metropolitan magistrate has cast a number of apprehensions and allegations on lawyers and mediapersons assembled there... who have been hurt.
“The whole nation is interested in knowing the proceedings of the case. In-camera trial cannot be done at the stage of pre-trial. It could have been done after case is committed to sessions court.”
District judge RK Gauba sought the police’s response on the plea against the in-camera trial order. The matter will come up for hearing on January 9.
The metropolitan magistrate’s court had observed earlier in the day: “The courtroom has become jampacked with lots of disturbance created from different nooks and corners.”
The magistrate ordered the accused to appear in court behind closed doors on Monday.
The court dismissed an application moved by some advocates for being appointed as amicus curiae in the case.