The Patna High Court on Monday stayed proceedings initiated against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar by a Barh court in connection with the murder of a Congress worker more than 18 years ago.
While hearing an interlocutory application, filed by Yogendra Prasad Yadav, an accused in the case, complaining of 'deliberate violation' of the High Court's stay order in case earlier, Justice Sheema Ali Khan ordered for shifting the matter to the bench that had heard it previously. Justice Khan also directed that the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (AJCM) of Barh, in the meantime, should not proceed further in the case.
Placing the stand of Yadav, his counsel Krishna Prasad Singh said Sitaram Singh was killed during 1991 Lok Sabha elections and his brother Raja Ram Singh had lodged an FIR against Kumar and four others with the Pandarak police station on November 16 that year.
In 1993, police submitted the final form in the case, exonerating Kumar and former MLA Dular Chand Yadav stating that a false case had been filed against them, the counsel said. The police the counsel said, filed chargesheet against Yogendra Yadav and two other accused though the evidences against them were weak.
Subsequently, the Barh court had issued more than 100 notices to Raja Ram Singh to appear before it to place his stand on the police report, but he did not turn up till 2007. It was only in 2008 that Raja Ram Singh filed an affidavit in the Barh court, stating that he had nothing to say on the police report. The Barh court accepted it and took cognizance of charges against Yogendra Prasad Yadav, Dilip Singh and Bodhi Yadav, the counsel said.
Yogendra then moved the High Court, challenging the criminal proceedings against him. On April 22, 2009, while hearing his petition, Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi directed: "Till further orders, proceedings in the Pandarak police station case, pending before the additional CJM, Barh, shall remain stayed."
Krishna Prasad on Monday said the stay order was communicated to the Barh court on May 6, 2009. So, the recent order (issuing summons against Nitish Kumar) was a flagrant violation of the High Court's directive and
tantamount to contempt of court, he added.
The ACJM had taken cognizance against Nitish Kumar and Dular Chand Yadav on August 31 on the basis of a petition filed by Ashok Singh, who was neither an informant nor an eyewitness. The ACJM had also directed for issuance of
summons to both of them for their personal appearance on September 9.
After the order exonerating Nitish Kumar and Dular Chand Yadav, the magistrate had no powers to proceed further with the matter, Krishna Prasad Singh said.