The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday issued a notice to Himachal Congress party MLA Ram Kumar Chaudhary and 11 other defendants on an appeal filed by Buti Ram, the father of a girl who was allegedly murdered in 2012, against their acquittal. Earlier in December, the court had issued notices to Chaudhary and the others on an appeal filed by the Haryana government against their acquittal.
Jyoti, a Dalit girl, was found dead on November 22, 2012 in Sector 21, Panchkula. Chaudhary, the principal defendant in the case, was tried but later acquitted on September 11, 2014.
During the hearing on Thursday, Chaudhary's counsel sought adjournment. Following this, the high court directed the defendants to file replies on the petitions filed by the Haryana government and Ram by May 14. Both petitions have been clubbed.
"The evidence, submitted by the prosecution, was not appreciated by the trial court. There were certain points that were not taken up properly. We'll put all the facts before the high court. We hope for justice," Rajesh Sharma, counsel for Ram, said after the hearing.
The Haryana government also argued there was sufficient evidence against Chaudhary and the other defendants in the case. According to the chargesheet filed by the police, Jyoti was killed because she wanted to marry Chaudhary and was asking for more time and money. However, the trial court ruled she was murdered in order to get hold of documents pertaining to her abortion.
The other defendants in the case, who have been issued notices, are Chaudhary's brother, Harbhajan; Dharampal, Paramjit Singh, Pankaj Bhandari and Satish, all residents of Solan, Himachal; Ashish Kumar, a resident of Hoshiarpur; Tilak Raj a resident of Kangra, Himachal; and Nirmal Singh, Kamaljit Singh and Baljit Singh, all residents of Panchkula. They are being tried for harbouring the accused, providing SIM cards and other charges.