Outgoing Rajasthan governor Kalyan Singh might have to face trial for criminal conspiracy in connection with the Babri Masjid demolition case. The immunity that he was enjoying because of the constitutional post he held up until now will end with his tenure. President Ram Nath Kovind appointed Kalraj Singh to be the replacement for Singh and to be the New Governor of the state on Sunday.
The Supreme Court had, on April 19, 2017, ordered revival of criminal conspiracy charges against senior BJP leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharati. The court had spared Singh, who was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh when the Masjid demolition happened, from facing the trial as an accused because of the constitutional immunity granted to governors under Article 361 of the Indian Constitution. However, the Supreme Court also made it clear to the CBI that Singh should be called an accused as soon as his tenure ends.
Article 361 of the Constitution confers immunity to the President and Governors from criminal and civil cases during their term of office. It states no court can issue summons to the President or a Governor in any case.
"As Singh's tenure as Governor comes to an end, he may have to face the trial unless the government appoints him in another constitutional post," a source privy to the development said.
The CBI case against Singh suggests that he, as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, had given assurance before the National Integration Council that he would not allow demolition of the disputed structure while the Supreme Court had permitted for only symbolic 'Kar Sewa' to be performed at the disputed site.
The order of the special judge, Lucknow in 1997, after a CBI charge sheet against him in 1993, stated, "Singh had also said that he will fully ensure the protection of the structure and it will not be felled down, but he allegedly acted in opposition to his assurances.” Singh had resigned from the post of the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh after the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992 and was appointed as the Governor of Rajasthan in 2014 for five years.
(inputs from PTI)