The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on CBI’s plea for revival of conspiracy charges against Advani and other leaders in Babri Masjid demolition case.
A bench of Justices P C Ghose and R F Nariman heard the arguments by both sides at length before reserving the order.
India’s premier probe agency told the top court that Advani and others hadn’t faced conspiracy charges based on technical reasons. The CBI wants the trial to be held in a Lucknow court.
Initiating the arguments before the Supreme Court, counsel for the probe agency, Niraj Kishan Kaul, told a division bench that there are two trials going on in the case simultaneously in Rai Bareli and Lucknow.
Mr Kaul submitted that 195 witnesses had already been examined in Lucknow trial court and approximately 700 or more to be examined. In the other case, in Rai Bareli court, 57 witnesses had already been examined and 100 or more are likely to be examined in the case.
Terming the 25-year pendency in the Babri demolition trials an “evasion of justice,” Justice Ghose said the Supreme Court plans to order the joint trial to be completed in two years.
“Kindly notice that this is a matter of 1992. Twenty-five years have passed. Our answer is have it on a day-to-day basis and finish it off in the next two years,” he observed.
Justice Nariman at one point remarked how “many of the accused are dead and some will die now.”
Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for Advani and Joshi, vociferously opposed the proposal for holding joint trial and transferring their case from Rae Bareli to Lucknow.
The CBI clarified that it was not making any submission on the issue of the trial of the VVIP accused but restricting itself to restoration of the charge of conspiracy against the accused.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for one of the intervenors, supported the proposal for a joint trial, contending the two sets of cases had arisen from one incident which allegedly involved single conspiracy.
The apex court also gave opportunity to all the parties to file their written submission by Tuesday.
The apex court had earlier decided to examine the appeal against dropping of conspiracy charge against Advani, Joshi, Uma Bharti and 10 others.
The second set of case was against unknown ‘karsevaks’ who were in and around the disputed structure and the trial was being held at a court in Lucknow.
The appeals were filed by the CBI against dropping of conspiracy charges against Advani, Joshi and 19 others for demolition of the disputed structure on December 6, 1992.