L K Advani and other top leaders of the BJP will be tried for criminal conspiracy in the Babri Masjid demolition case, the Supreme Court ruled today, agreeing with a request from the country’s premier investigating agency, the CBI.
Apex Court allowed the CBI’s appeal challenging withdrawal of conspiracy charges against Senior BJP leaders including L K Advani and others.
A bench of the Apex Court, headed by Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and also comprising Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, passed the order.
The Apex Court, however, granted relief to Kalyan Singh, being the Governor of Rajasthan at present, and said that he enjoyed Constitutional immunity for holding the post.
The trial has to be completed in two years and Day to day hearing would continue, the Apex Court said.
The Rai Bareliey case has been transferred to Lucknow sessions Court.
The apex court also ordered that no adjournment would be given in the Case under normal circumstances.
Justice Nariman pronounced the order and read out the operative portion of the order. No judge, who is hearing the case, would be transferred, the apex court said, and also made it clear that till Kalyan Singh holds the post of Governor of Rajasthan, no case would be registered against him.
The Supreme Court also said that the case shall be transferred within four weeks from Rai Bareliey to Lucknow. The others who would face the criminal conspiracy charges and be tried would be, among them are, Sri Vinay Katiyar, Giriraj Kishore, Sadhvi Ritambara, Satish Pradhan.
Mr Advani along with party colleagues , Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti charged with making inflammatory speeches that motivated Kar sevak volunteers or to pull down the historic mosque in 1992. That trial is being held in Rae Bareli.
Separately, about 20 people are being tried in a court in Lucknow for the actual demolition of the mosque.
1. Register case of 120 B (criminal conspiracy) against Advani, Joshi and others (total 13).
2. Transfer case from Rae Bareilly to Lucknow.
3. Day to day hearing
4. Complete proceedings in two years
5. No transfer of judge till he completes hearing this case
6. No adjourned allowed
7. CBI to register case in 4 weeks and start proceedings
8. Kalyan Singh enjoys immunity as long as he is Governor. CBI to register case against him as soon as he cease to be Governor
The CBI says that it has evidence that the leaders, who made their speeches on a stage near the mosque on the day that it was razed, were part of the deadly plan to bring down the mosque. The agency says they should therefore be tried on more serious charges of conspiracy.
In 2010, the Allahabad High Court disagreed with the CBI about criminal conspiracy charges for the BJP veterans, which meant that the leaders’ case continued to be heard in Rae Bareli. The CBI has appealed against that decision in the top court.
The agency says that Mr Advani and other BJP leaders met in 1990 and decided that the mosque would be demolished and its razing was planned, deliberate event.
At its last hearing about 10 days ago, the Supreme Court indicated it was likely to club the two cases together – that means Mr Advani and his party colleagues would be tried in Lucknow as part of one comprehensive case. Judges also expressed their frustration with the (so-far) twin trials moving slowly over 25 years, and said they could order daily hearings with a two-year deadline for a verdict.