New Delhi, April 19: In a huge jolt to the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Supreme Court on Wednesday pronounced that senior party leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and others will face criminal conspiracy charges in the Babri Masjid Demolition case. The apex court allowed the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) appeal opposing the withdrawal of conspiracy charges against Advani and others. Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman said that conspiracy charges on Advani and other BJP leaders cannot be dropped over ‘technical grounds’. More importantly, the apex court said that there will be a day-to-day hearing in the case in the Lucknow trial court. Here are the highlights of what the apex court said in its ruling on Wednesday:
- The Supreme Court had ordered a joint trial of two separate cases against LK Advani, MM Joshi, Uma Bharti and unknown ‘karsevaks’ in Lucknow.
- Kalyan Singh enjoys Constitutional immunity as Rajasthan Governor and can be tried only after he ceases to hold office, observed the apex court.
- The apex court directed Lucknow court to conduct trial in these cases on a day-to-day basis without granting adjournment.
- The court directed the CBI to ensure that some prosecution witnesses appear in trial court for recording of testimony.
- The court ordered that the trial judge hearing the Babri demolition case will not be transferred till the judgement is delivered.
- The court also directed Lucknow trial court to commence proceedings in 4 weeks and made it clear that there will be no de novo trial. The case will be transferred from Raebareli court to Lucknow court.
Other leaders who will face criminal conspiracy charges in the Babri Masjid demolition case are Vinay Katiyar, Sadhvi Ritambara, Satish Pradhan and Champat Rai Bansal.
The Babri Masjid was demolished by a mob on December 6,1992, leading to communal riots across the country. Hundreds were killed in the communal riots, following which cases were filed in the Lucknow court as well as Raebareli court against BJP leaders including Advani and others. In 2001, a special court dropped criminal conspiracy charges Advani and others. The CBI filed an appeal against the order in the High Court, which upheld the verdict in 2010. Follwing this, the CBI filed its appeal against withdrawal of criminal conspiracy charges against the BJP leaders in the Supreme Court.