The Supreme Court (SC) on 19 April 2017 restored criminal conspiracy trial against senior BJP leaders L K Advani, M M Joshi, Uma Bharti and other senior BJP leaders in the Babri Masjid demolition case.
The ruling was made by a bench comprising Justices P C Ghose and R F Nariman. The bench also ordered that separate trial courts at Rae Bareli and Lucknow should be clubbed and conducted in the capital of Uttar Pradesh only and directed that trials should be completed in two years.
Highlights of the SC orders
• It ruled that there will be no fresh trial because of framing of conspiracy charges against senior BJP leaders.
• However, Rajasthan governor Kalyan Singh, who enjoys Constitutional immunity, can be tried only after he ceases to hold the office.
• The trial will proceed on a day-to-day basis and will not be adjourned on any ground. Moreover, the judges presiding over the case will not be transferred till the trial is concluded and judgment is pronounced.
• The adjournment would take place only if the trial court judge feels that it was impossible to proceed and fix the next date of hearing after recording the reasons for the adjournment.
• It also directed probe agency CBI to ensure that prosecution witnesses appear on each and every date for recording of evidence in the case and the trial court should start the proceedings within one month.
The verdict came on a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) plea challenging the order of Allahabad High Court for quashing the conspiracy charge against Advani and others in May 2010. The Allahabad High Court ruled in favour of the conspiracy charges being dropped against the veteran BJP leaders.
The bench had earlier reserved the order on April 6 after the CBI and other petitioners had sought the restoration of conspiracy charge against the senior Bharatiya Janata Party and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders.
At first, there were two sets of cases relating to the Babri Masjid demolition on 6 December 1992. The first involved unnamed 'karsevaks', the trial of which is taking place in a Lucknow court, while the second set of cases relate to the BJP leaders in a Rae Bareli court.
The Lucknow court is hearing the case against unknown 'karsevaks' who were in and around the Babri Masjid when it was pulled down.
CBI had charged Advani and 20 others under sections 153A (promoting enmity between classes), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 505 (false statements, rumours etc circulated with the intent to cause mutiny or disturb public peace) of the IPC.
What: Restored by SC
When: 19 April 2017