The Kerala government has challenged the High Court’s decision in the Malayalam actor abuse and abduction case, in which Dileep is the eighth accused, by filing a Special Leave Petition with the Supreme Court on Tuesday. The Kerala High Court had earlier dismissed pleas to transfer the trial.
Both the survivor and the prosecution had moved the Kerala High Court in October to transfer the trial, which is ongoing at the Additional Special Sessions Court at Ernakulam in Kerala. They had both claimed bias on the part of the judge.
However, on November 20, the Kerala HC dismissed the pleas of the prosecution and the survivor after observing that there were no sustainable grounds to transfer the case. The court had also rejected the prosecution’s request to stay the case for a week so that it could appeal to the Supreme Court.
In response to the High Court’s decision, A Sureshan, the special prosecutor in the case, resigned on November 24 and returned the briefs to the Additional Chief Secretary of the Kerala government.
The Special Judge involved in the case had earlier directed the investigating officer to make arrangements to resume the trial by November 26. Now, the prosecution has sought for more time since it has approached the Supreme Court.
A Special Leave Petition is a petition filed for an appeal at the Supreme Court by an aggrieved party, here the prosecution, against an order passed by any of the lower courts or tribunals in India. It is exercised only in cases when any substantial question of law is involved, or gross injustice has been done.
The case history began in February 17, 2017, when the survivor was abducted while she was travelling from Kochi to Thrissur in Kerala. After being sexually assaulted for two hours, she was dropped off near the residence of director Lal. Soon after the incident, the first accused in the abduction case, Pulsar Suni, who drove the car while she was being assaulted, was arrested. In June, Pulsar Suni confessed that actor Dileep had conspired in the assault.
On July 20, 2017, Dileep was arrested as the eighth accused in the case. The prosecution counsel has alleged that the trial proceedings were being constantly delayed ever since Dileep was let out on bail.
Dileep, who had been suspended from the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA), was reinstated to the organisation in 2018. In response, the survivor, Rima Kallingal, Ramya Nambeesan and Geetu Mohandas resigned from the AMMA.
The Women in Cinema Collective also slammed the AMMA’s decision and called it unethical.