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Supreme Court: The bench of RF Nariman and Surya Kant, JJ has asked the Uttar Pradesh government to pass orders within two weeks on extension of tenure of the special judge conducting trial in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case, involving BJP veterans L K Advani, M M Joshi and Uma Bharti, in Lucknow.

The bench said a fresh letter has been written by the special judge on July 27 in which he had made five requests including providing him security. It asked senior advocate Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the state, to consider all the five requests within two weeks time saying these requests appears to be reasonable.

The Court had on July 19 extended the special judge’s tenure till the completion of trial and delivery of verdict in the case. However, the state government was yet to pass the order. He was also asked by the Court to deliver the verdict within nine months.

Besides Advani, Joshi and Bharti, the accused against whom conspiracy charge was invoked in the case by the Supreme Court on April 19, 2017, include former BJP MP Vinay Katiar and Sadhvi Ritambara.

Three other high-profile accused Giriraj Kishore, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal and Vishnu Hari Dalmia died during trial and the proceedings against them have been abated.

(Source: PTI)

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On 30. 05. 2017, the Special CBI Court at Lucknow granted bail to all 12 accused including senior BJP Leaders L.K. Advani, Uma Bharti and Murli Manohar Joshi on a personal bond of Rs. 50, 000 each. All the accused had appeared before the Court for framing of charges.

Prashant Atal, the lawyer for the accused said that the accused have submitted a discharge application stating that there is no case against them and if the Court rejects the application, then the charges will be framed. The Court, however, rejected the application and framed the charges under Section 120B read with Sections 153, 153A, 295, 295A and 505 of IPC.

The Court also asked BJP leader Vinay Katiyar, VHP’s Vishnu Hari Dalmia and Sadhvi Ritambara to present themselves before the Court in person and said that no application for adjournment or exemption from personal appearance shall be entertained.

On 19.04.2017, the Supreme Court had directed that the senior BJP leaders be tried for criminal conspiracy in the Babri Masjid demolition which resulted into nation-wide riots between Hindu and Muslim community.

Source: PTI

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Giving out a major verdict, the Bench of P.C. Ghose and R.F. Nariman, JJ ruled that L.K. Advani, Vinay Katiar, Uma Bharati, Sadhvi Ritambara, Murli Manohar Joshi and Vishnu Hari Dalmia are to be tried for conspiracy in the Babri Masjid demolition which resulted into nation-wide riots between Hindu and Muslim community. The Court, however, said that Kalyan Singh, being the Governor of Rajasthan, is entitled to immunity under Article 361 of the Constitution as long as he remains Governor of Rajasthan. The Court of Sessions will frame charges and move against him as soon as he ceases to be Governor.

Stating that the cases against the leaders and the Kar Sewaks to be tried together by the Sessions Court at Lucknow, the Court asked the Sessions Court to frame additional charges under Section 120-B and the other provisions of the Penal Code mentioned in the joint charge-sheet filed by the CBI against Champat Rai Bansal, Satish Pradhan, Dharam Das, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, Mahamadleshwar Jagdish Muni, Ram Bilas Vadanti, Vaikunth Lal Sharma, and Dr. Satish Chandra Nagar.

Directing the Sessions Court to have daily hearings, the Court directed that the controversy should be given rest to within 2 years. It was further directed that there shall be no de novo trial, however, no prejudice will be caused to the accused as they have the right to recall witnesses already examined either in Rae Bareilly or in Lucknow for the purpose of cross-examination. Also, there shall be no transfer of the Judge conducting the trial until the entire trial concludes. The case shall not be adjourned on any ground except when the Sessions Court finds it impossible to carry on the trial for that particular date. In such an event, on grant of adjournment to the next day or a closely proximate date, reasons for the same shall be recorded in writing.

The demolition of the mosque was an outcome of the speech made by the BJP leaders at Ayodhya alleging that the Mosque was built upon the Ram Janmbhoomi i.e. the birthplace of Lord Ram. The Allahabad High Court, by order dated 22.05.2010, had dropped the charges of conspiracy against the aforementioned Senior leaders stating criminal conspiracy had never been made out against the said persons. The High Court also said that there were two classes of accused, namely, leaders who were on the dais exhorting the Kar Sewaks at 200 meters from the Masjid, and the Kar Sewaks themselves. The nature of the accusations against both was different and their involvement was for different criminal offences.

Considering the seriousness of the matter, the Court said that crimes which shake the secular fabric of the Constitution of India have allegedly been committed almost 25 years ago and the accused persons have not been brought to book largely because of the conduct of the CBI in not pursuing the prosecution of the aforesaid alleged offenders in a joint trial, and because of technical defects which were easily curable, but which were not cured by the State Government. The Court noticed that the filing of the supplementary charge sheet against 8 accused persons which is going on separately at Rae Bareilly and the dropping altogether of charges against the 13 accused persons has completely derailed the joint trial envisaged and has resulted in a fractured prosecution going on in two places simultaneously based on a joint charge-sheet filed by the CBI itself. [State v. Kalyan Singh, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 444, decided on 19.04.2017]