["Finally, the wheels of justice are turning in the Babri Masjid
demolition case," the IE editorial, at sl. no. II below, rightly
points out. But, after a huge delay.

What, however, of significance here is the observation made by the
Supreme Court in the instant case: “In the present case, crimes which
shake the secular fabric of the Constitution of India have allegedly
been committed almost 25 years ago. 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".
That's perhaps the only silver lining of the dark clouds gathering
over the nation.]

I/II.
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/babri-demolition-case-25-yrs-later-lk-advani-murli-manohar-joshi-uma-bharti-face-trial-4620393/

Babri demolition case: 25 yrs later, LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi,
Uma Bharti face trial
Criminal conspiracy charges restored, trial moved from Rae Bareli to Lucknow

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Published:April 20, 2017 5:12 am

Uma Bharti on Wednesday (Source: Express Photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

Describing the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya as “crimes which
shake the secular fabric of the Constitution of India”, the Supreme
Court Wednesday put senior BJP leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi
and Union Minister Uma Bharti on a joint trial with ‘kar sevaks’ in
the 1992 case under various charges, including criminal conspiracy to
pull down the disputed structure.

The bench of Justices P C Ghose and Rohinton F Nariman said the
Supreme Court was convinced it must use its power under Article 142 to
do complete justice in the matter and club the trial of Advani and
others with scores of kar sevaks, who are being tried at a special
court in Lucknow, so that a judgment is delivered within two years.

“In the present case, crimes which shake the secular fabric of the
Constitution of India have allegedly been committed almost 25 years
ago. 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 bench said.
While reviving the criminal conspiracy charges against the senior
leaders of the BJP and shifting their trial from Rae Bareli, the court
also ordered restoration of charges against Rajasthan Governor Kalyan
Singh and eight others in connection with the case but exempted Kalyan
Singh from prosecution on account of the constitutional immunity he
enjoys as Governor.

[Video: Ready To Face Any Punishment On Babri Masjid Says Uma Bharti]

“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 bench said
as it allowed a CBI appeal against the dropping of conspiracy charges
against the veteran BJP leaders.

Additional Sessions Judge (Ayodhya Matters) has been directed to frame
additional charges of criminal conspiracy against Advani, Joshi,
Bharti, Vinay Katiyar, Sadhvi Rithambara and Vishnu Hari Dalmia within
four weeks. Accepting submissions by senior lawyer Kapil Sibal and
advocate M R Shamshad, who represented Haji Mehboob, one of the
original petitioners in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri title suit case, the
court also directed the sessions judge to conduct their trial on a
day-to-day basis from the current stage and finish it in two years
while allowing accused to recall crucial witnesses wherever required.
“There shall be no de novo (fresh) 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 bench held. Besides, the top court gave liberty to all
the parties, including the prosecution, complainants and witnesses, to
approach it directly if its “directions not being carried out, both in
letter and in spirit”.

Addition of conspiracy charges do not enhance the maximum punishment
of five years in jail, as prescribed under the alleged offences that
mainly related to promotion of enmity between different groups on the
ground of religion. But shifting of trial to a sessions judge take
away one right of appeal from the accused since the leaders were being
tried by a magisterial court in Rae Bareli and, therefore, they could
move the sessions court against the magistrate’s order at first
instance. Their appeal would now lie before the High Court.
There are two main FIRs registered in connection with the demolition —
one each in Lucknow and Rae Bareli. In Lucknow, the accused, chiefly
the kar sevaks, face charges of demolition whereas those in Rae
Bareli, including Advani and others, were being tried for allegedly
instigating the crowd through speeches.

Seeking a joint trial, the CBI had in October 1993 filed a
consolidated chargesheet against both set of accused at Lucknow but
the cases could not be clubbed for want of sanction from the High
Court before setting up a special court to try both FIRs as one case.
In 2001, the Allahabad High Court affirmed the decision that the
government’s notification was invalid due to lack of approval from the
High Court.

Since no new notification was issued by the state government after
this judgment, the Lucknow court dropped proceedings against 21
persons, which included Advani and Kalyan Singh. While Advani and
seven others continued to face trial at Rae Bareli where there was a
separate FIR against them for inciting the mob from a dais near the
site of the incident on December 6, 1992, 13 others, including Kalyan
Singh, were let off completely since no charges were pressed
separately against them at Rae Bareli after their exoneration in
Lucknow.

The CBI appealed against the HC order, and sought trial of all 21
accused under criminal conspiracy charges, apart from other offences.
Allowing the plea for a joint trial, the bench said that the evidence
for all these offences is almost the same and these offences,
therefore, cannot be separated from each other.

It maintained that the CBI’s failure to challenge the 2001 HC order on
invalidation of the notification on the joint trial “has completely
derailed the joint trial envisaged and has resulted in a fractured
prosecution going on in two places simultaneously based on a joint
chargesheet filed by the CBI itself”. The court turned down arguments
by senior advocate K K Venugopal, who appeared for Advani and Joshi,
that the court could not exercise its authority under Article 142 to
take away rights of a litigant when there are substantial provisions
on the particular subject.

“Article 142(1) of the Constitution of India had no counterpart in the
Government of India Act, 1935 and to the best of our knowledge, does
not have any counterpart in any other Constitution the world over. The
Latin maxim fiat justitia ruat cælum is what first comes to mind on a
reading of Article 142 — Let justice be done though the heavens fall,”
the bench said.

II.
http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/babri-masjid-demolition-case-ayodhya-lk-advani-4620122/

Wheel of justice

Supreme Court order in the Babri demolition case holds out hope of
closure. Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh must step down

By: Editorials | Updated: April 20, 2017 7:05 am

The apex court has ordered that the two separate trials related to the
demolition be bunched together and heard in the same court in Lucknow.

Finally, the wheels of justice are turning in the Babri Masjid
demolition case. The possibility of due process leading to justice and
closure in one of the most seminal cases in India’s political history
seems within reach now, 25 years after the 16th century mosque at
Ayodhya was demolished by Sangh Parivar activists in the wake of the
rath yatra of the-then BJP chief L.K. Advani, shaming a nation and
setting powerful new political dynamics in motion. The Supreme Court’s
order on Wednesday sets back on track the judicial process and lays
down conditions to ensure that the trial is not delayed or compromised
further.

READ | A case each in Rae Bareli and Lucknow, now a joint trial

The apex court has ordered that the two separate trials related to the
demolition be bunched together and heard in the same court in Lucknow.
Splitting the accused into two groups and holding the trial in
different courts in different districts has been an important factor
in slowing down the judicial process. Significantly, the apex court
has restored the CBI’s charge of criminal conspiracy against the
accused facing trial in a Rae Bareli court on the relatively mild
charge of addressing an unlawful assembly.

This group, which includes Advani, senior BJP leader Murli Manohar
Joshi and Union Minister for Water Resources Uma Bharti, will now be
tried for conspiring to demolish the mosque. Kalyan Singh, Uttar
Pradesh chief minister at the time of the demolition, and now the
governor of Rajasthan, has been exempted on the ground of
constitutional immunity. Both Bharti and Singh, however, must
immediately step down in order to uphold the principle of propriety
and the dignity of the office they hold.

READ | Consensus in BJP core: Best if they stand trial, get acquitted

The two-judge bench has ordered daily hearings, sought a verdict in
two years, indicated that the trial judge should not be transferred
and ruled against the demand for a retrial. These directives should
have come earlier, but even if belatedly, they have revived hopes that
the perpetrators, and conspirators, of the heinous assault on the rule
of law and the edifice of secular India, will finally be punished.
Over 2,000 persons were reportedly killed in the nation-wide riots
that followed the demolition.

READ | ‘Let law take its course’: Congress guarded in its response to SC order
The events of December 6, 1992 in Ayodhya were the culmination of the
abdications of several institutions. The Supreme Court has initiated a
welcome process that carries within it a belated opportunity to
rectify this shameful record. When it begins, the trial will be
monitored closely, especially since the BJP is in government in
Lucknow and at the Centre. The quality of prosecution and the
cooperation of state agencies will be key to the smooth conduct of the
trial. At stake is not merely the fate of an important case, but the
ability, and willingness, of the constitutional republic to stay true
to its foundational principles.

-- 
Peace Is Doable

-- 
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Green Youth Movement" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email 
to greenyouth+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com.
To post to this group, send an email to greenyouth@googlegroups.com.
Visit this group at https://groups.google.com/group/greenyouth.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.

Reply via email to