In a major setback to top BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and others, the Supreme Court revived conspiracy charge against them, which was quashed by trial court. On December 6, 1992, hundreds of kar sevaks descended on Babri Masjid in Ayodhya and demolished the 16th century mosque. They claimed that the mosque was built on land considered holy by Hindus who believed it to be the birthplace of Hindu deity Lord Rama. It triggered widespread Hindu-Muslim violence. A number of senior BJP leaders, including LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, are accused in the case.
The apex court directed the trial court to proceed expeditiously in the case and said that court should not grant unnecessary adjournments in the trial proceeding. The apex court, however, said that conspiracy charge should not be slapped against Kalyan Singh as he has got immunity for being governor but directed that charge be framed against him immediately after he demits office of Governor.
The CBI had told the Supreme Court that top BJP leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti had conspired with other accused for demolishing Babri Masjid in 1992 and sought revival of conspiracy charges against them.
Additional solicitor general Niraj Kishan Kaul contended that eight leaders who were being tried in Rae Bareli court for offences under various section of IPC including Section 153A (promoting enmity between classes), Section 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), should also face prosecution for criminal conspiracy.
The ASG had said that 13 other accused were not facing any proceedings in any court after conspiracy charges were dropped against them and pleaded the apex court to revive proceedings against them.
The CBI had approached the apex court way back in 2011 challenging dropping of conspiracy charges against Advani, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar and Murli Manohar Joshi. Others against whom the charge was dropped included Satish Pradhan, C R Bansal, Ashok Singhal(now dead), Giriraj Kishore(now dead), Bal Thackeray (dead), Sadhvi Ritambhara, V H Dalmia, Mahant Avaidhynath, R V Vedanti, Param Hans Ram Chandra Das, Jagdish Muni Maharaj, B. L. Sharma, Nritya Gopal Das, Dharam Das, Satish Nagar and Moreshwar Save.
The trial court had passed the order on May 4, 2001 dropping the charge against them. The CBI challenged the order in HC which took ten years to decide the case. The HC had on May 20, 2010 refused to interfere with lower court order and the agency then had moved the apex court.
The agency had investigated in 49 cases and a consolidated chargesheet was filed in Lucknow court on September 5, 1993 against 49 accused persons for their role in conspiracy to demolish the disputed structure under Section 120B along with other offences under various Section of the Indian Penal Code.
The trial court had taken cognisance of the chargesheet and said that that case of conspiracy was made out against the accused. The trial court order was challenged before Allahabad HC which held that conspiracy charges could not be slapped against Advani and other leaders in Lucknow court as they were being tried in Rae Bareli court and the state government decision to transfer the case to Lucknow was wrong as HC was not consulted before issuing notification.
The Supreme Court rules that senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti will face charges of criminal conspiracy in the Babri Masjid demolition case. The apex court merges two separate cases being heard in Lucknow and Rae Bareli relating to the mosque’s demolition. Hearings are to be held on a daily basis in Lucknow. The apex court says the judge hearing the case will not be transferred and the matter will have to be decided in two years. To ensure no delay is caused in proceedings, court orders CBI to produce witnesses in court daily. No fresh trial to take place. Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh’s trial to begin once he ceases to be governor, till then, he enjoys constitutional immunity.
Now the question is, can this be the insistence of CBI in the court to restore and pursue the Babri demolition criminal case, is a ploy by Modi and Rajnath to settle some old scores with the sidelined BJP leaders? CBI is considered to act as per the wishes and orders of the Centre!
In 1959 Nirmohi Akhara enters the fray and files the third suit, seeking possession of the site, doing away with the court-appointed receiver. It claims itself to be the custodian of the spot at which Ram was supposedly born.
In 1528 a mosque was built on the site by Mughal emperor Babar which Hindus allege to be the birth place of Lord Ram and where a temple earlier existed. Mahant Raghubir Das files a suit seeking permission to build a canopy on Ram chabootra but his plea was rejected a year after by the Faizabad district court in 1885. In 1859 British officials erect a fence to separate the places of worships, allowing the inner court to be used by Muslims and the outer court by Hindus. First recorded incidents of communal violence at the disputed site took place in 1853.
In 1949, idol of Lord Ram surfaces inside mosque. Muslims claim that the Hindus kept it there. Muslims protested and both parties filed civil suits. The government proclaims the premises as a disputed area and locks the gates. On 18 January 1950, the first title suit was filed by Gopal Singh Visharad asking for the right to worship the idols installed at ‘Asthan Janmabhoomi. The court restrained the removal of idols and allowed the worship to continue. Then Ramchandra Paramhans files another suit, but withdraws later.
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