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In-camera hearing of rape case

The Supreme Court on Thursday departed from established convention and conducted in-camera hearing of the anticipatory bail plea of two Christian priests accused of rape in Kerala.

Our Legal Correspondent   |   Published 20.07.18, 12:00 AM

The Supreme Court. Picture by Prem Singh

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday departed from established convention and conducted in-camera hearing of the anticipatory bail plea of two Christian priests accused of rape in Kerala.

The two priests - Abraham Varghese and Jaise K. George - had moved the apex court after Kerala High Court on July 11 dismissed their anticipatory bail applications.

The duo, along with two other priests, have been accused of raping the woman over years and blackmailing her.

A bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, which conducted the in-camera proceedings on the request of senior counsel R. Basant and Bechu Kurian, restrained Kerala police from arresting the priests until the court pronounces its verdict on their bail applications.

In-camera proceedings are rarely conducted in the Supreme Court, more so in regular civil and criminal proceedings as they are open to the public at large. The only known recent instance of in-camera proceedings was the hearing of a PIL filed by the NGO Prajwala relating to the circulation of rape videos by criminals on social media.

The Supreme Court agreed to the plea of the accused's counsel "in view of the nature of the case" and also the privacy of the victim who is a homemaker. Only the lawyers of the accused and the state were present.



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