The Kerala government has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking a change in the trial judge in the actor assault case. Earlier the High Court had dismissed the prosecution’s plea to change the judge.
Both prosecution and the survivor in the case had approached the HC alleging that the presiding judge, Honey M Vargese was biased and held a hostile attitude. The actor also alleged that the judge silently watched on as advocates of actor Dileep, who is the eighth accused in the case, harassed her in the courtroom. Dileep is alleged to have been the mastermind of the assault against the survivor actor. She also alleged that the preceding judge did not record some of her statements intentionally.
However, dismissing the plea, the High Court observed that the transfer of a criminal case to a different court was not possible with just allegations of apprehension of bias. The trial in the case began in November 2019 at the Additional Sessions (CBI special No III) Court in Ernakulam and was being heard by judge Honey M Varghese. It was based on the survivor's special request to appoint a woman judge that Honey Varghese was appointed.
The prosecution has alleged that the trial court did not restrict the number of advocates inside the courtroom. It was said that the court checked the visuals of assault in front of 30 advocates in the courtroom, among which 20 of them were Dileep's lawyers. “I was weeping. I was compelled to speak which no women dare to speak in public,” the survivor had told HC.
In the sensational case there are about 350 witnesses among which the examination of 80 witnesses have been completed. This is the second time the case reached the Supreme Court. Earlier in November 2019, SC had rejected the plea of Dileep seeking a copy of memory card which contains the visuals of the assault.