The Supreme Court of India has restored criminal conspiracy charge against senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders L K Advani, M M Joshi and Uma Bharti in the Babri Masjid demolition case.
Justices P C Ghose and R F Nariman pronounced the judgement, ordering the separate trails being conducted in trail courts of Rae Bareli and Lucknow, which are ordered to be clubbed and conducted in Lucknow only. The Justices have directed the case to be completed in two years.
There will be no fresh trial because of framing of conspiracy charges against senior BJP leaders. However, Kalyan Singh, who is the governor of Rajasthan, enjoys Constitutional immunity and can be examined only after he ceases to hold the office.
The Supreme Court said that the trail will proceed on a day-to-day basis and cannot be adjourned on any grounds. The judges presiding the case will not be transferred till the trail is concluded and a judgment has been pronounced.
The top court also directed the CBI to ensure that prosecution witnesses appear on every single date for the recording of evidences in the case.
Supreme Court has ordered the trial court should start the proceedings of hearing within four weeks from this date.
There were two cases relating to the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. The first case involved ‘karsevaks’, which is taking place in Lucknow court, while the second cases relate to the BJP leaders in a Rae Bareli court.
Advocate K K Venugopal, who is appearing for Advani and Joshi, had opposed the proposal for holding a joint trial earlier this month, when the Supreme Court indicated that it may order holding of a joint trial of two sets of cases.
The CBI clarified that it was not going to make any submission on the issue of the trial against accused BJP leaders, but restricted itself on restoration of the charge of conspiracy against them.
Earlier the apex court decided to examine the appeal against dropping of the conspiracy charge against Advani, Joshi, Uma Bharti and ten others.
The counsel for the accused opposed the clubbing of two FIRs on the ground that there were different sets of persons named as accused in the two cases, the trial of which were at an advanced stage at two different places.
The conspiracy charge against 13 suspected, including Advani, Joshi and Bharti were dropped in the case, the trail of which is being held in a special court in Rae Bareli.
The second set of case was against ‘karsevaks’, who were involved in the demolition of Babri Masjid. The trial against them is being held in a Lucknow court.
The appeals were filed by deceased Haji Mahboob Ahmad and the CBI against dropping of conspiracy charges 21 suspects, including the BJP leaders.
A supplementary chargesheet was filed against eight persons, but not the 13, who were discharged for plotting the demolition.
Besides BJP leaders Advani, Joshi and Bharti, conspiracy charges were dropped against Kalyan Singh (currently the Governor of Rajasthan), deceased Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray and deceased VHP leader Acharya Giriraj Kishore.
The others against whom the conspiracy charge was dropped include Vinay Katiyar, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya, Satish Pradhan, C R Bansal, late Ashok Singhal, Sadhvi Ritambhara, late Mahant Avaidhynath, R V Vedanti, late Paramhans Ram Chandra Das, Jagdish Muni Maharaj, B L Sharma, Nritya Gopal Das, Dharam Das, Satish Nagar and late Moreshwar Save.
The appeals have sought to set aside the Allahabad High Court's order of May 20, 2010, dropping section 120B (criminal conspiracy) under the IPC while upholding a special court's decision.
Advani along with 20 others were charged under the sections 153A (promoting enmity between classes), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 505 (false statements, rumors etc circulated with the intent to cause mutiny or disturb the public peace) of the IPC.
It had subsequently invoked charges under section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC, which was quashed by the special court whose decision was upheld by the high court.
The high court said that CBI never stated that there was an offense of criminal conspiracy against the leaders.
The case was long pending and now the Supreme Court has asked the trial courts of Rae Bareli and Lucknow to start a fresh clubbed hearing in the state’s capital. It can only be hoped now, that the case gets completed quickly and justice may serve truly.