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Ayodhya hearing in SC today

New Delhi, Nov. 28: The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear tomorrow the Babri Masjid demolition case in which deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and several top BJP and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders face charges.

The Uttar Pradesh government has, however, filed an affidavit reiterating its stand that it would not issue a fresh notification to prosecute Advani, Union ministers Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti and the VHP leaders.

Two FIRs were filed after the mosque was demolished on December 6, 1992. The first was a general FIR and named none. The second named Advani, Joshi, Bharti and the others. When the case was remitted to a special trial court, a notification was issued by the government for process in the first FIR. This gave the defence the argument that since there was no notification on the second FIR, Advani and the others could not be sent up for trial.

On this technical ground, Allahabad High Court had quashed the case but observed that the government could re-issue the notification to begin process in the second FIR also.

But the government did not do so and one Mohammad Aslam alias Bhure has moved the Supreme Court seeking a directive to the state to re-issue the notification so that prosecution against Advani, Joshi, Bharti and the others could continue.

The government in its affidavit defended its decision, contending that the court at Rae Bareily was competent to try the case and that it need not issue a fresh notification for a special court to commence prosecution.

“The October 1993 notification was nonest (a closed issue) since admittedly it was issued without consultation with the high court,” the government said in its affidavit. It added that the “October 1993 notification, being an executive order, could not take away the jurisdiction of the court at Rae Bareily”, indicating that the court could issue summons to the accused.

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