The court reportedly asked the senior law officer of Centre to explain the reasons behind delay in filing appeal against the high-profile accused. The law officer now has to file another affidavit along with his explanation(s).
Earlier the court had slammed investigative agency Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and also sought an explanation regarding its sluggish move challenging Allahabad High Court's previous verdict. The high court earlier had ruled that Advani and other accused in the case can not be made culpable to conspiracy charges.
On Feb 6, CBI counsel PP Rao had argued that leaders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and BJP were part of a "national conspiracy" to bring down the centuries-old masjid. To buttress his point, he cited the Ram Rath Yatra that was launched by Advani from Somnath in Gujarat on Sep 25, 1990.
However, the Supreme Court bench healed by Justice HL Dattu admonished the senior advocate. "Please don't say that it is a national crime or a matter of national importance. We are yet to decide on it. Until we or the trial court decide this way or the other, you can't make such statements," the court stressed.
Earlier, a special CBI court had dropped conspiracy charges against BJP leaders Uma Bharti, Kalyan Singh, Vinay Katiyar, Advani and Joshi. The others who got relief from the same court were - Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Sadhvi Ritambhara, Mahant Avaidhynath, Satish Pradhan, Param Hans Ram Chandra Das, CR Bansal, Jagdish Muni Maharaj, Satish Pradhan, Nritya Gopal Das, Moreshwar Save, VH Dalmia, RV Vedanti, Satish Nagar, BL Sharma and Dharam Das.
The Allahabad High Court upheld the CBI court's decision on May 21, 2010. Now the agency is challenging these two verdicts.
When Rao sought permission to file a fresh affidavit, the SC bench made it clear that only the documents to which the high court and the special court had referred to can be submitted before the court. The bench asked Rao to explain the delay in appealing against the high court verdict.
"You said that it is a case of national importance. Then can you say that the translation (of court records) takes days and filing of case takes three months," the court demanded to know.
It is to be noted that initially the CBI had charged the aforementioned 21 persons under Sections 152 B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 153 A (promoting enmity between classes) and 505 (false statements, rumours etc circulated with the intent to cause mutiny or disturb public peace) of the IPC.
Later, the agency wanted Advani and the others to be tried under Sec 120 B. However, the high court noted that the CBI did not tell the trial court at Rae Bareily or even mention in its revision petition that the VHP and BJP leaders should be charged with criminal conspiracy.
(With agency inputs)