The Jammu and Kashmir high court has said that it had not imposed any ban on media coverage of the Shopian case involving the alleged rape-cum-murder of two women, and added that it would continue to monitor the case until "such time the mystery is resolved".
In its seven-page order, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Barin Ghosh and Justice Mohammed Yaqoob Mir directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to submit a report on the findings by October 13 on the process carried out for exhumation and the autopsy of the two women.
"We direct this matter to be listed on October 13, 2009, only for the purpose of submission of report by the team of investigators appointed by the CBI confining only to the process of exhumation and autopsy," the order said.
Neelofar, 22, and her sister-in-law Aasiya, 17, were found dead in a stream at Shopian, 51 km from Srinagar, on May 30 after which widespread protests threw life out of gear for nearly 50 days in the Valley.
There was no mention in the order of any blanket ban imposed on media reporting the case.
"We make it clear, that we do not want to know the details of autopsy carried out. We only want to know when and how consent was given for exhumation, when and how people of Shopian town were taken into confidence... " the bench said.
On the CBI taking up the investigation, the court said, "It has been reported to us that a new investigating team has been appointed, namely the CBI, to investigate the matter... They have in 15 days exhumed the dead bodies and conducted autopsy thereof, which we wanted the special investigating team to do much earlier."
The bench, however, said, "It would be appropriate on our part not to conclude at this stage that the altered channel of investigation is not functioning properly."
Earlier during the hearing, the Kashmir Bar Council, represented by Mian Abdul Qayoom, had raised doubts over handing over of the case to the CBI and claimed it was an attempt by the state government to bury the heinous crime.The bar association, which filed a plea in the case, also told the court that it was no longer interested in pursuing the matter.