The Kerala government’s request to change a women judge in a city court hearing the case against actor Dileep, accused of the alleged kidnapping and sexual assault of an actor, was rejected today by the Supreme Court.
The state government has asserted a bias from the judge of the first court hearing the allegations of sexual assault against Dileep. Claiming prejudice from the judge, the government pointed out some issues while recording cross-examination of witnesses in the case.
The supreme court said these allegations are “unjustifiable”, adding that such accusations by the government will affect the morale of the judge.
The Kerala High Court has also previously rejected similar claims by the state government and the female actor.
Among the 10 defendants in the case is Dileep, who allegedly hatched the criminal conspiracy to kidnap and attack the woman.
“A lot of excitement has been created in Kerala in this sensitive case. There has to be some moderation on all sides,” the Supreme Court said. “If the court does not properly record a cross-examination or if the state has objections, it can take the matter to the supreme court,” it said.
The proceedings in the city court took place in a room with severe restrictions on media. In her petition, the survivor said the court failed to uphold the spirit of an in-camera trial.
The special prosecutor presented his resignation to the government due to some remarks made by the judge of the first court. But the resignation is still to be accepted. The Supreme Court today has the state government a week to change the special prosecutor if the state so desires.
The female actor was reportedly kidnapped and sexually abused while traveling to Kochi for work in February 2017. There were at least four men who were allegedly filming the attack.
Dileep, once considered by many to be Kerala’s third superstar after Mammootty and Mohanlal, was arrested in July 2017.
In December 2018, the Kerala High Court rejected his request for an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the case.
The plaintiff requested a CBI investigation, claiming he was wrongly involved. In January this year, the Supreme Court refused to stop the trial against Dileep, while a session court rejected his discharge petition seeking his name removed from the list of defendants.