SC to examine appeal against dropping of charges in Babri case

SC to examine appeal against dropping of charges in Babri case
SC to examine appeal against dropping of charges in Babri case

The Supreme Court today kept its options open on examining the dropping of conspiracy charge against accused like L K Advani, M M Joshi and Uma Bharti in the demolition of the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri structure in Ayodhya in 1992.

The apex court also came up with the option of ordering a joint trial of cases arising out of the two FIRs lodged in the wake of the demolition of the disputed structure.

“There are 13 persons who were discharged only on technical grounds. Today, we are saying why can’t we club both the cases and have a joint trial,” a bench comprising Justices P C Ghose and R F Nariman said.

“We will not accept the discharge on technical grounds and we will allow supplementary charge sheet,” the bench said.

These observations were made orally during a brief hearing by the bench, which posted the matter for further hearing on March 22.

However, the clubbing of two FIRs was opposed by the counsel for the accused on the ground that there were different sets of persons named as accused in the two cases, the trial of which were at an advanced stage at two different places.

They were of the view that joint trial would lead to the beginning of proceedings de novo (afresh).

Altogether, 13 persons including Advani, Joshi and Bharti were discharged of conspiracy charge in the case, the trial of which is being held at a special court in Raebareli.

The second set of case was against unknown ‘karsevaks’ who were in and around the disputed structure and the trial was being held at a court in Lucknow.

The appeals were filed by one Haji Mahboob Ahmad (since dead) and the CBI against dropping of conspiracy charges against BJP leaders Advani, Joshi and 19 others for demolition of the disputed medieval structure on December 6, 1992.

During the hearing, the bench also said that supplementary charge sheet was filed against eight persons but not against the 13 who were discharged.

Besides BJP leaders Advani, Joshi and Bharti, conspiracy charges were dropped against Kalyan Singh (presently Governor of Rajasthan), Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray and VHP leader Acharya Giriraj Kishore (both have since died).

( Source – PTI )

‘Irreparable loss if delay not condoned in Babri case’

New Delhi: According to the CBI which has told in the Supreme Court here that by not condoning delay in filing appeal against the Allahabad High Court’s order on dropping conspiracy charge against BJP leader L. K. Advani and others in the Babri Masjid demolition case would cause irreparable loss.

The agency contended before a bench of Justices H. L. Dattu and J. S. Khehar that delay in approaching apex court against HC order be condoned and its appeal against Mr. Advani and others be heard on merit.

The bench, however, said that it will decide on condonation of delay only after hearing the contentions of Mr. Advani and others who have sought dismissal of CBI’s plea on the ground of delay. “In normal case we would have done it but in this there is objection from the other side. We will first hear all sides on the issue,” the bench said when senior advocate P. P. Rao, appearing for CBI, pleaded for condonation of 167 days delay.

The bench posted the case for hearing on July 17.

CBI in its affidavit said that if delay is not condoned then it would cause failure of justice as the accused would get away without facing trial for serious offence.

“The delay in filing the SLP is not intentional and deliberate, but bona fide. In case the delay in preferring the SLP is not condoned, it will result in irreparable loss and injury to the State and the failure of justice by letting off the accused without facing trial for serious offences. The purpose of filing of this SLP in public interest would be frustrated,” the affidavit said.

The agency said that delay was caused because the then Solicitor General (SG) had to go through the voluminous documents before approving the draft of appeal and he was also busy in other cases including 2G case.

“Time has been consumed because the appealing party was the state and it had to be circumspective and take all necessary steps before challenging the impugned order of the High Court. The delay has been occasioned because everyone associated with the matter was cautious keeping in mind the sensitivity involved in the matter and wanted to exercise due diligence,” mentioned in the affidavit.

The affidavit was filed in response to apex court’s order directing that an affidavit be filed by a senior law officer of the central government after noting that the delay of 167 days was caused because of a law officer.

The affidavit, however, has been filed by Neeraja Gotru, DIG in CBI saying that the then SG has ceased to hold office and there is no officer in office of present SG who is conversant with the facts of the case.

The apex court was hearing CBI’s appeal challenging the verdicts of a special CBI court and the Allahabad High Court dropping conspiracy charge against Mr. Advani, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar and Murli Manohar Joshi.

The others against whom the charge was dropped included Satish Pradhan, C R Bansal, Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Sadhvi Ritambhara, V H Dalmia, Mahant Avaidhynath, R V Vedanti, Param Hans Ram Chandra Das, Jagdish Muni Maharaj, B L Sharma, Nritya Gopal Das, Dharam Das, Satish Nagar and Moreshwar Save.

CBI has challenged in the Supreme Court the May 21, 2010 order of the high court, which had upheld a special court’s decision to drop the charge against the leaders.

The High Court had at that time, however, allowed CBI to proceed with other charges against Mr. Advani and others in a Rae Bareily court, under which the case falls.

The May 2010 order of the High Court had said there was no merit in CBI’s revision petition against the May 4, 2001 order of the special court which had directed dropping of criminal conspiracy charge against them.

There are two sets of cases – one against Mr. Advani and others who were on the dais at Ram Katha Kunj in Ayodhya in December 1992 when the Babri Masjid was demolished, while the other case was against lakhs of unknown ‘karsevaks’ who were in and around the disputed structure.

CBI had chargesheeted Mr. Advani and 20 others under sections 153A (promoting enmity between classes), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 505 (false statements, rumours etc circulated with the intent to cause mutiny or disturb public peace) of IPC.

It had subsequently invoked charges under section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC which was quashed by the special court whose decision was upheld by the high court. Bal Thackeray’s name was removed from the list of accused persons after his death.

While upholding the special court’s order, the High Court had said CBI at no point of time, either during the trial at Rae Bareily or in its revision petition, ever stated that there was offence of criminal conspiracy against the leaders.

Babri case: SC questions CBI over delay in filing appeal

The CBI has been asked by the Supreme court of India for the delay in filing appeal against the Allahabad high court order that conspiracy charge will not apply to BJP leader LK Advani and others in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

A bench headed by Justice HL Dattu directed that an affidavit be filed within two weeks by a senior law officer of the central government after noting that the delay of 167 days was caused because of a law officer.

In compliance with the apex court’s earlier order, CBI on Tuesday placed before the bench the case details in which it submitted that the delay was caused as the drafting of the appeal against the Allahabad high court verdict was pending before additional solicitor general and solicitor general for their approval and opinion.

“The delay was on the part of solicitor general. So affidavit from the concerned person would facilitate us to understand the delay,” the bench said.

“In your interest it is better if an affidavit is filed,” the court said, granting two weeks time to CBI to get the affidavit filed by the senior law officer.

The bench, however, in its order did not mention the officer who would be filing the affidavit and said it should be filed by a senior law officer.

The apex court was hearing CBI’s appeal challenging the verdicts of a special CBI court and the Allahabad high court dropping conspiracy charge against Advani, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar and Murli Manohar Joshi.

The others against whom the charge was dropped included Satish Pradhan, C R Bansal, Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Sadhvi Ritambhara, V H Dalmia, Mahant Avaidhynath, R V Vedanti, Param Hans Ram Chandra Das, Jagdish Muni Maharaj, B L Sharma, Nritya Gopal Das, Dharam Das, Satish Nagar and Moreshwar Save.

CBI has challenged in the Supreme Court the May 21, 2010 order of the high court, which had upheld a special court’s decision to drop the charge against the leaders.

The high court had at that time, however, allowed CBI to proceed with other charges against Advani and others in a Rae Bareily court, under which the case falls.

The May 2010 order of the high court had said there was no merit in CBI’s revision petition against the May 4, 2001 order of the special court which had directed dropping of criminal conspiracy charge against them.

There are two sets of cases — one against Advani and others who were on the dais at Ram Katha Kunj in Ayodhya in December 1992 when the Babri Masjid was demolished, while the other case was against lakhs of unknown ‘karsevaks’ who were in and around the disputed structure.

CBI had chargesheeted Advani and 20 others under sections 153A (promoting enmity between classes), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 505 (false statements, rumours etc circulated with the intent to cause mutiny or disturb public peace)of IPC.

It had subsequently invoked charges under section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC which was quashed by the special court whose decision was upheld by the high court. Bal Thackeray’s name was removed from the list of accused persons after his death.

While upholding the special court’s order, the high court had said CBI at no point of time, either during the trial at Rae Bareily or in its revision petition, ever stated that there was offence of criminal conspiracy against the leaders.

Babri Masjid case: Apex court issues notices to Advani, Thackeray

The Supreme Court Friday issued notice to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani, Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray and 19 others on a petition by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) challenging their discharge in the Babri Masjid demolition conspiracy case.

An apex court bench of Justice V.S.Sirpurkar and Justice T.S.Thakur issued the notice after Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam pressed the investigating agency’s petition, finding fault with the Allahabad High Court verdict.

It took major efforts on the part of Subramaniam to persuade the court to issue notices, which it appeared reluctant to issue earlier. The court wanted to know as to why the investigating agency did not approach the courts where these cases were being tried.

The court said that issuance of notices would serve no purpose except delaying the trial in the cases currently going on in Lucknow and Rae Bareli courts. The court asked the solicitor general as to what prevented the investigating agency from filing a supplementary charge sheet adding the charge of criminal conspiracy.

As Subramanium told the court that these leaders were being tried for other charges at Rae Bareli court, the bench said ‘Then with what face you (investigating agency) are coming here?’

The apex court wanted the solicitor general to address the issue of what prevented the investigating agency from curing the defect that eventually led to the dropping of the charges of criminal conspiracy on a mere technality.

‘Why has Uttar Pradesh (government) not issued a notification to cure the defect pointed out by the high court? Ten years have passed. Why have you not done it?’ the court asked the solicitor general.

However, since the solicitor general said that the charges of criminal conspiracy were there in the FIR against these leaders, the court issued the notices.

Advani and 20 others were discharged by the high court on May 20, 2010 in a case in which they were accused of conspiracy to demolish the 16th century Babri Masjid by radical Hindu activists Dec 6, 1992, triggering widespread communal violence.

Besides Advani and Thackeray, other accused include senior BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi, Vinay Katiyar, Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Hari Dalmiya, as well as Uma Bharti, Sadhvi Ritambrara, Mahant Avaidyanath and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh,

The CBI appeal said that the reasons recorded by the trial court discharging Advani and other were fallacious.

‘Both the trial court and the high court have analysed the evidence and decided that there were two categories of accused persons and logically 21 persons (Advani and others) belonged to the category of instigators and distinct from those who actually executed the act of demolition,’ the appeal noted.

‘An artificial distinction was made by the trial court attempting to assign a role in respect of each of the accused persons and to see which offences were made out,’ the appeal said, adding this ‘classification is entirely unjustified and is unattainable’ and contending that all the ‘offences (instigation and actual act of demolition), form part of the same transaction’.

Initially the CBI had filed composite charge-sheet against 49 people and had asked the Uttar Pradesh government to ensure that their trial took place by the same court.

However, the special court separated the 21 BJP, Shiv Sena and VHP leaders and had directed their trial in Rae Bareli whereas for the remaining 28, the trial was directed to take place in Lucknow.