In a setback for the Kerala government, the Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain its plea to extend the time to complete the trial in the actor rape case, involving Malayalam actor Dileep, who is allegedly accused of being the chief conspirator of the crime.
A bench comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and C.T. Ravikumar said such a demand can be made only by the trial judge and the judge can also submit a report before the top court seeking extension, if it is felt necessary.
Senior advocate Jaideep Gupta, representing the Kerala government, sought 6 months more time, as the existing deadline to complete the trial is February 16. But, the bench made it clear that it will not grant the extension, at the instance of the Kerala government.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Dileep, opposed the Kerala government plea and submitted that the state government is trying to delay the trial. He vehemently argued that the time to complete the trial had already been extended several times.
He argued that after the examination of 200 witnesses, another man came with a fresh set of allegations, when the trial in the matter is about to complete.
The bench orally observed that it will not pass an order at the instance of the state government and disposed of the application. "We leave it at the discretion of the trial court to take an appropriate view in this matter...".
Rohatgi pointed out all the extensions in the trial were on the basis of the request made by the sessions judge and not by any of the parties. He added that the state government is not justified in seeking extension of time and it is for the judge concerned to seek extension of time, if he thinks it is required.
At the end of the hearing, Gupta urged the top court to keep the state government application pending, which was opposed by Rohatgi. The bench noted that if it is kept pending, then it will give a different meaning. Rohatgi said the state government is conducting a media trial against his client.
Dileep is allegedly accused of hatching the criminal conspiracy in connection with the abduction and the sexual assault of the victim, in a moving vehicle in the outskirts of Cochin city in February 2017.