SC revives criminal conspiracy charges against Advani, others
Balangir : 19 April 2017 : Shantanu Kumar Naik: The Supreme Court on Wednesday used its extraordinary constitutional powers under Article 142 to revive the criminal conspiracy charges against senior BJP leaders, including L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti, in the dual Babri Masjid demolition cases.
A Bench of Justices P.C. Ghose and Rohinton F. Nariman transferred the Rae Bareilly case languishing in the magistrate court and clubbed it with the Lucknow case pending before a CBI Special Court
The Rae Bareilly case accuses Mr. Advani, Dr. Joshi and six other BJP and Sangh Parivar leaders of giving provocative speeches that promoted enmity and threatened national integration.
The Lucknow case is against “lakhs of unknown kar sevaks” and deals with the actual act of demolition and violence. With the clubbing of the cases and revival of the the conspiracy charges, the senior BJP leaders will be tried under the composite charge sheet filed by the CBI on October 5, 1993.
Justice Nariman, who wrote the judgment for the Bench, specifically called out the names of Mr. Advani and Dr. Joshi while pronouncing the judgment in open court to underline the fact that the criminal conspiracy charges had been revived against them.
With the clubbing of the cases, the Supreme Court has completely agreed with the CBI that both cases – the actual demolition case and the speeches allegedly made by these leaders – are pari materia or part of the same action.
The court, however, exempted Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh, who was Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister at the time of demolition, from facing trial as of now.
Justice Nariman held that Mr. Singh is protected from criminal prosecution by the constitutional immunity his Governor’s post allows him under Article 361.But the Sessions Judge will commence prosecution against him for criminal conspiracy the moment he steps down.
The court ordered day-to-day trial to be completed in two years. The trial judge will not be transferred till the case is over and there will be no adjournments given, it said. If an “impossible” situation arises, the trial court would record the reason for the adjournment, the court said.
The Supreme Court clarified that this would be no de novo or fresh trial, which would entail fresh framing of charges, but only involve the joining of criminal conspiracy into the existing case.