The Additional District and Sessions Judge-I of Mathura will now hear the case involving Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan and three others, with a court here holding that the Chief Judicial Magistrate was not competent to hear the matter and order remand of the accused.
"The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mathura, would ensure transfer of all the records, remand papers, etc. to the court of the Additional District and Sessions Judge-I immediately," according to an order passed by District and Sessions Judge Yashavant Kumar Mishra earlier this week.
Mishra said that further hearing in the case would continue in the court of the Additional District and Sessions Judge-I.
Journalist Kappan and three others were arrested by Mathura police on October 5 when they were on their way to a village in Hathras to meet the family members of a Dalit woman who had died after her gangrape and assault.
Kappan, Atiqur Rahman, Aalam and Masood, with alleged links with the Popular Front of India, were booked under various provisions of the IPC and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The case was initially probed by the Crime Branch of Mathura police but was later transferred to the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF).
The District and Sessions Judge said that as per the ruling of the Apex Court, no other court except the session judge's court is authorised to hear such cases.
The order was delivered on an application by Rakesh Kumar Paliwal, Deputy Superintendent of Police (STF), Gautam Buddha Nagar, seeking transfer of the case to a sessions judge.
Defence counsel Madhuban Datt Chaturvedi said they had raised the matter during the remand hearing, but it was rejected by the judge. He asked who would be held responsible for the "illegal confinement" of Atiqur Rahman and others.