SC REFUSES TO SHIFT BABRI MASJID CASE

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The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to shift the Babri Masjid demolition case trial, involving senior BJP leader L K Advani and other VVIPs, from a special court in Rae Bareli to Lucknow.

A bench comprising chief justice K G Balakrishnan, Justice G P Mathur and Justice R V Raveendran dismissed an application seeking review of its verdict which had permitted the trial of cases relating to demolition of the Babri Masjid before two separate courts at Rae Bareli and Lucknow. “We are of the opinion that the earlier order passed by this court dismissing the special leave petitions does not require any reconsideration. There is no error apparent on the face of the record nor do the facts and circumstances warrant any interference with our earlier order,” said the court. “The review petitions are without any merit and dismissed accordingly” said CJI writing the verdict.

The apex court in its November 29, 2002, order had upheld the validity of the UP government notification for holding the trial of the cases at two different places. While upholding the notification, the court had said that the state government in consultation with the high court has constituted a special court at Rae Bareli for trying the cases in relation to the eight accused and no person much less the petitioners in public interest can claim any special court at any particular place for trial of any particular criminal case

Questioning the locus standi of petitioner, the court said “petitioner (Bhure) is an intervener who has no connection with any crimes registered by the police”. The Rae Bareli court is holding trial against BJP leaders L K Advani, M M Joshi, Vinay Katiyar, expelled BJP leader Uma Bharati, VHP leaders Ashok Singhal, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya, Giriraj Kishore and Sadhwi Rithambhara. The Rae Bareli court in September 2003 had quashed the charges against Advani while deciding to proceed against other seven persons. However, the Allahabad high court on July 7, 2005, had set aside the trial court order and directed it to proceed against all the eight accused.

Mohammed Aslam who had also approached the apex court before the demolition had sought review of the November 2002 verdict clearing the holding of trial of two cases at two separate courts at Rae Bareli and Lucknow. Two cases were registered at Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.

CBI had taken a stand that since the two cases arise from the same incident and a consolidated charge sheet had been filed, it would be in the interest of justice that both cases be tried together at Lucknow. In the first FIR, 39 people were named as accused, the trial of which was being held in a Lucknow court. The case relating to second FIR, with eight VVIPs as accused, was being tried at Rai Bareli.

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