New Delhi: The Supreme Court today allowed a CBI appeal against an order of the Allahabad High Court linked with the demolition of the Babri Masjid structure and directed that the Court of Sessions will frame additional charge of conspiracy against Union Minister Uma Bharti, senior ruling BJP leades L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, along with Vinay Katiar, Sadhvi Ritambara and Vishnu Hari Dalmia.
While quashing the High Court order, the Supreme Court has said that the proceedings in Crime No. 198/92, RC.1(S)/92/SICIV/ND in the Court of the Special Judicial Magistrate at Rae Bareilly will stand transferred to the Court of Additional Sessions Judge (Ayodhya Matters) at Lucknow.
Today’s order was passed by a two Judge bench comprising Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice R.F. Nariman in response to an appeal by the Central Bureau of Investigation arising out of the demolition of Babri Masjid. This case was linked with two FIRs lodged on 6 December, 1992. The first viz. Crime No.197 of 1992, is against lakh kar sewaks accused of dacoity, robbery, causing of hurt, injuring/defiling places of public worship, promoting enmity between two groups on grounds of religion, etc. The IPC offences were, therefore, under Sections 153-A, 295, 297, 332, 337, 338, 395 and 397.
The Supreme Court has issued the following directions:
The Court of Sessions will frame an additional charge under Section 120-B against L.K. Advani, Vinay Katiar, Uma Bharati, Sadhvi Ritambara, Murli Manohar Joshi and Vishnu Hari Dalmia. The Court of Sessions will 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 @ Prem, and Dr. Satish Chandra Nagar. 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.
The Court of Sessions will, after transfer of the proceedings from Rae Bareilly to Lucknow and framing of additional charges, within four weeks, take up all the matters on a day-to-day basis from the stage at which the trial proceedings, both at Rae Bareilly and at Lucknow, are continuing, until conclusion of the trial. There shall be no de novo trial. 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 Sessions Court will complete the trial and deliver the judgment within a period of 2 years from the date of receipt of this judgment.
The CBI has been asked by the apex Court to ensure that on every date fixed for evidence, some prosecution witnesses must remain present, so that for want of witnesses the matter be not adjourned.