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, Criminal Appeal No.751of 2017, decided on 19.04.2017]

High Courts

Madras High Court-The writ petition filed by the Hindu Munnetra Kalagam to forbear the State Authorities from granting any permission either to the Tamilnadu Muslim Munnetra Kalagam or to any other organizations for conducting any procession or other events on the occasion of the anniversary of the demolition of Babri Masjid, on 06.12.2014 was dismissed by the Court. 

The present writ petition was filed by the General Secretary of The Hindu Munnetra Kalagam who contended via his counsel K.Mylsamy that if the processions and demonstrations by the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kalagam are allowed then it would destroy the peace and tranquility and the atmosphere of religious tolerance. The respondents were represented by P.S. Gandhi, AGP.

V. Ramasubramanian, J  in his order observed that when so many organizations professing different faiths which,are antithetic to each other come up, then the Court repeatedly passes orders directing the Government to give permission to all organizations holding extreme.view points on the basis of Fundamental Right to freedom of speech and expression. When the Court is trying to enforce the Constitutional mandate by directing the State to grant permission to all Authorities, it is not open to the petitioner to use the very same Court to curtail the Constitutional mandate. He further stated that once permission was granted to Hindu Munnani to hold demonstrations on 06.12.2014, it is completely unethical and unlawful to deny permission to organizations holding opposite point of view. The Hindu Munnetra Kalagam v. Chief Secretary, Decided on 03.12.2014