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JGLS student gang rape case: SC orders HC to conclude case within 5 months

The JGLS Sonepat student rape survivor may finally see an end to her five-year ordeal as the Supreme Court has now ordered the Punjab & Haryana high court to dispose of her appeal within five months, as reported by IANS.

Justices SA Bobde and LN Rao ordered the accused to appear before the high court on 6 March next, and said that the bench will not go into the merits of the case the appeal in which is already pending before the high court.

The bench also ordered the two convicts sentenced to 20 years to remain in jail during trial, and that the third accused who was sentenced to seven years will be allowed to remain outside custody on bail as he had been granted protection from arrest by the Supreme Court due to his conduct during the bail period.

The survivor's May 2015 allegation against three fellow JGLS students, of gang rape on her since August 2013, the trial court had convicted them and ordered jail sentences in May 2017. However, in September 2017 the high court had suspended their sentences in a widely condemned judgment that was criticised for victim blaming.

The victim, through senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, had appealed against the sentence suspension and had also obtained an order from the Supreme Court last week for the convicts to hand over the password of the iCloud account allegedly carrying her nude pictures that they were using to blackmail her.

Defending the accused, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi has argued that his client was not guilty of gang rape, while advocate Shanti Bhushan submitted that his client had forgotten the password as he was in jail for more than two years now and not accessing the web account.

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