Kerala High Court Justice V Raja Vijayaraghavan announced in open court on Monday that special CBI judge Honey M Varghese will be hearing the case.

Woman judge to hear actor assault case Kerala HC rejects Dileeps argument PTI
news Actor assault case Monday, February 25, 2019 - 17:08

A woman judge will be hearing the actor abduction and assault case – in which actor Dileep is named as an accused. This comes after the Kerala High Court accepted the survivor’s plea seeking that a woman judge hear the case.

Kerala High Court Justice V Raja Vijayaraghavan announced in open court on Monday that special CBI judge Honey M Varghese will be hearing the case. The Kerala High Court on Monday stated that the petition filed by the survivor is legitimate and can be allowed as per the law. The law has a provision which allows a woman judge to hear her case, the HC said.

The survivor had approached both the High Court and the state government and had requested that the case should have an in-camera trial, a special court be constituted and that a woman judge should preside over the case. The Kerala government had also submitted to the High Court that a special court be constituted and that a woman judge hear the actor abduction case. The government had stated that the case required a speedy trial.

“The Kerala High has granted the survivor's appeal on Monday and asked the case to be disposed of within nine months. The Ernakulam Additional Sessions court, which is one of the CBI courts in the district, has a woman judicial officer. The case has been posted there,” a lawyer associated with the case told TNM.

Dileep’s counsel, too, appeared before the court to challenge the matter on Monday, stating that the case cannot be given special consideration and that there are many such cases in the country which are being heard by male judges. Dileep's counsel further sought that the trial continue before the Principal Sessions Judge of Ernakulam, who is currently hearing the case. However, his argument was overruled.  

This development in the trial comes two years after a woman actor from the Malayalam movie industry was abducted and sexually assaulted in a moving car when she was travelling from Thrissur to Kochi. The crime had sent shock waves across Kerala as well as the entertainment industry in the country.

Dileep has been accused of being the mastermind behind the crime. The chargesheet filed by the police stated that Dileep held a grudge against the survivor and hired other people, including Sunil Kumar (also known as Pulsar Suni) who is the prime accused in the case, to assault the actor, film the act and use it to blackmail her later. Dileep, an influential actor, has been accused of trying to delay the case.

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