The Group of Ministers (GoM) briefed the media in New Delhi today. The Media Brief circulated on the occasion is as follows:

“Government has taken note of the judgment of the Supreme Court dated 11.5.2011 rejecting the curative petition filed by the CBI to reconsider the judgment of the Supreme Court dated 13.9.1996. The principal grounds on which the curative petition has been rejected appear to be that the curative petition does not satisfy the principles laid down in Rupa Ashok Hurra Vs. Ashok Hurra 2002 (4) SCC 388 and delay in filing the curative petition.

Government wishes to recall that, after the Supreme Court passed its judgment on 13.9.1996 excluding charges under section 304 part II of the IPC, a review petition was filed on behalf of certain affected parties. That review petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court. There was no scope for filing a ‘curative petition’ at that time because the law relating to curative petitions was laid down much later in 2002.

Since 1996, there have been a number of governments at the Center and virtually all political parties had been in the central government at one time or another. In a sense, therefore, all governments since 1996 are responsible for the delay in moving the Supreme Court.

Be that as it may, after the judgment of the Trial Court dated 7.6.2010 convicting the accused persons to imprisonment for two years under section 304A IPC, a Group of Ministers recommended that certain legal steps may be taken to punish the accused for graver charges under the law. The Cabinet accepted the recommendations of the GoM. Accordingly, a curative petition was filed in the Supreme Court. Besides, a revision application was filed in the Sessions Court, Bhopal under section 399 CrPC. An appeal was also filed in the Sessions Court, Bhopal to enhance the punishment and fine under sections 338 and 304 A IPC. Both the revision application and the appeal are pending before the Sessions Court, Bhopal.

Government notes that in its judgment dated 11.5.2011 dismissing the curative petition the Supreme Court has observed, inter alia, that:

“It is clear to us that in the criminal revisions filed by the CBI and the State of MP the legal position is correctly stated.

“The 1996 judgment was rendered at the stage of sections 209/228/240 of the Code and we are completely unable to see how the judgment can be read to say that it removed from the Code sections 323, 216, 386, 397, 399, 401 etc. or denuded a competent court of the powers under those provisions. In our view, on the basis of the material on record, it is wrong to assume that the 1996 judgment is a fetter against the proper exercise of the powers by a court of competent jurisdiction under the relevant provisions of the Code. If according to the curative petitioner, the Learned Magistrate failed to appreciate the correct legal position and misread the decision dated 13.9.1996 as tying his hands from exercising the power under section 323 or under section 216 of the Code, it can certainly be corrected by the appellate/revisional court.”

Under section 323 CrPC, if it appears to the Magistrate that the case is one that ought to be tried by the Sessions Court he may commit the case to the Sessions Court at any stage. Under section 216 CrPC, a Court may alter or add to any charge at any time before judgment is pronounced. The CBI has relied on these sections and has urged these grounds in the revision application before the Sessions Court. The Government is happy to note that the judgment of the Supreme Court dated 11.5.2011 has endorsed the stand taken by the CBI.

In view of the above, Government will request the CBI to move the Sessions Court, Bhopal for early hearing of its revision application and appeal and seek relief in the Sessions Court to try the accused for graver charges under the IPC.”

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