The actor had filed a petition stating that she was not satisfied with the trial proceedings being conducted under the supervision of Judge Honey M Varghese.

Side profile of a woman wearing a mask, against the backdrop of Kerala High Court
news Court Thursday, September 22, 2022 - 12:06

The Kerala High Court on Thursday, September 22 rejected a plea filed by the actor who was sexually assaulted in a moving van in 2017 seeking transfer of the case to another court. The case was being heard by the Ernakulam Principal District and Sessions Court and was being presided over by Judge Honey N Varghese who had initially heard the case in the CBI court. This is the second time that the survivor has moved the HC against the judge, and both times, her petition has been rejected.

The survivor had filed the petition stating that she was not satisfied with the trial proceedings being conducted by Judge Honey Varghese. After hearing the case, the Kerala HC, however, rejected the plea and said that the case would continue in the Principal Sessions Court. The survivor had levelled serious allegations against the judge and pointed out in her petition that her faith had eroded.

She had alleged that an audio clip aired on certain channels, of a purported conversation between a family member of actor Dileep (the 8th accused in the case) and another lawyer, mentioning that Judge Honey was ground enough to transfer the case out. The survivor had also questioned why the judge had not revealed in court that she received a forensic report which made it clear that the visuals of the sexual assault had been illegally accessed by someone while it was in the custody of the court. The survivor also mentioned many instances in which the judge behaved ‘rudely’ to prosecution witnesses. Two special public prosecutors – VN Anilkumar and A Suresan – had earlier resigned citing that working with the judge had become untenable.

The HC has however not agreed to the survivor’s plea and Justice Honey will continue to hear the case.

The case was handed over to Justice Honey in February 2019 after the actor-survivor moved the Kerala High Court and sought to appoint a woman judge to the case. Later, in August 2020, the survivor and the Special Public Prosecutor in the case moved the HC seeking to transfer the case from Justice Honey, alleging a bias and misconduct by the judge. That petition too was rejected by the court.

The visuals of the assault were recorded by ‘Pulsar’ Suni, the prime accused, who handed over the pen drive to his lawyer, who in turn submitted it to the Angamaly Magistrate Court. The pen drive was sealed so as to protect the memory card from any kind of illegal access or tampering. From March 2018 to March 2019, the memory card and pen drive were stored in the Ernakulam Principal and Sessions Court. Forensic reports show that the memory card was accessed more than once illegally in this period.

Read: Kerala actor rape case: Bhavana says judge acted with agenda, goes to HC

The case pertains to the abduction and sexual assault of a woman actor in Kerala, allegedly at the behest of actor Dileep, who has since been booked as the eighth accused in the case.

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