Legal Correspondent

Petition seeks review of order allowing trial in Rae Bareli

  • CBI filed composite charge sheet against all the accused
  • In November 2002 apex court upheld U.P. notification

    NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court will give its verdict on Thursday on a petition seeking a review of its November 2002 judgment permitting the trial against Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani and seven others in the Babri Masjid demolition case to proceed in a Rae Bareli court rather than be shifted to Lucknow.

    On August 29 last, a Bench comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan (he was No. 2 judge at that time) and Justices G.P. Mathur and R.V. Raveendran reserved judgment on the petition filed by Aslam Bhure.

    Besides Mr. Advani, the accused are the former Union Ministers Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders Ashok Singal, Giriraj Kishore, Vishnu Hari Dalmia, Vinay Katiyar and Sadvi Ritambara.

    Two FIRs

    Soon after the December 6, 1992 demolition, two first information reports were registered, 197/92 (without naming kar sevaks and later naming 47 accused) and 198/92 (against Mr. Advani and the seven others).

    A special court framed charges against 47 persons in the first FIR and Mr. Advani and the seven others in the second FIR. But on revision, the Allahabad High Court in February 2001 quashed the charges against Mr. Advani and the others on the technical ground that the transfer of the casewas made without consulting it and, hence, illegal. As a result, the trial continued only against the 47 persons named in the first FIR.

    Mr. Bhure filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court for a direction to the Uttar Pradesh Government to issue a fresh notification for reviving the case against Mr. Advani and the seven others and for a direction that the trial be held only in a Lucknow court as a composite charge sheet was filed by the CBI against all the accused.

    During the hearing of the petition, the Uttar Pradesh Government issued a notification that a special court created at Rae Bareli would hear the case relating to crime no. 198/92.

    On November 29, 2002, the apex court upheld the notification. Contending that trial against all the accused should be held only in a Lucknow court, Mr. Bhure sought a review of the order. Even as this matter was pending, the Allahabad High Court in 2005 directed Mr. Advani and the seven others to face trial in the case and it is pending in the Rae Bareli court.