Won’t allow any community to impede trial, says court

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Questioning if the Bhanwari Devi murder case had turned into a conflict between Dalits and non-Dalits, the Supreme Court Monday made it clear that no community shall be permitted to impede the course of trial by influencing witnesses or by vitiating the atmosphere of the trial court.

A Bench of Justices T S Thakur and Vikramjit Sen also asked authorities of the Rajasthan government and prosecuting agency, CBI, to ensure that the trial was conducted in a conducive atmosphere so that the witnesses were not harassed and evidence was not tampered with.

“Our concern is that community clashes vitiate the atmosphere and if such an atmosphere prevails, it is not conducive for a fair trial... Let all the three communities (Jats, Bishnoi and Dalits) know that we will not allow anyone to intimidate the witnesses, hoodwink the process or threaten the justice delivery system,” said the Bench.

The court was adjudicating a petition by Bhanwari Devi’s sister, who had sought transfer of the trial from Jodhpur court to a court in Delhi or elsewhere. Bhanwari Devi was killed in September 2011, after video tapes of her with former cabinet minister Mahipal Maderna surfaced.

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