Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid dispute: SC to decide today whether LK Advani will face trial

The Supreme Court is set to deliberate over and decide whether senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti along with other BJP leaders may face trial in the decades-old Babri masjid demolition case.

NDTV reported that apex court is expected to report on whether or not conspiracy charges will be revived against Advani and other leaders like Murli Manohar Joshi and Union Minister Uma Bharti. The charge was dropped by the lower courts.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

According to NDTV, Advani, Joshi and a dozen others including Vinay Katiyar and Kalyan Singh — the governor of Rajasthan — were released by a court in Raebareli from conspiracy charges in the razing of the 16th-century Babri mosque in Ayodhya in December 1992 by Hindu activists. The activists believed mosque was built on the birthplace of Lord Ram.

The SC had earlier expressed its concern over the pace of the proceedings of Babri Masjid demolition case and was likely to take a decision on those accused on 22 March. The apex court had called for a joint trial and is likely to club the Raebareli and Lucknow cases. The cases pending in the two cities will be heard in Lucknow.

According to this Firstpost article, the government just ten days after the incident had established the Liberhan Commission of India to investigate the demolition of the Babri Masjid. The report by Liberhan Commission submitted in June 2009 had found many BJP leaders culpable including Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Advani, Joshi, Kalyan Singh, Pramod Mahajan, Bharti and Vijayaraje Scindia, as well as VHP leaders like Giriraj Kishore and Ashok Singhal.

The Allahabad High Court had pronounced its judgment in 2010 on the four title suits relating to the dispute. In the landmark hearing, the HC ruled that the disputed land be divided into three parts — one-third to Ram Lalla, represented by the Hindu Mahasabha; one-third to the Islamic Waqf Board; and the remaining third to the Nirmohi Akhara.

Allahabad High Court had discharged Advani and other senior leaders of the party and Hindu outfits on charges of criminal conspiracy.

Hindustan Times reported, the decision to discuss the culpability of Advani and other senior leader was taken after a bench of Justices RS Nariman and PC Ghosh heard a CBI petition challenging the Allahabad High Court's dropping of conspiracy charges against these leaders. "We will not accept the discharge on technical grounds and we will allow supplementary charge sheet," the bench said.

According to The Times of IndiaThe CBI had moved the apex court on 18 February, 2011 against the Allahabad court's verdict. The CBI had issued a charge sheet against Advani and 20 others under sections 153A IPC (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).

However, it subsequently invoked charges of criminal conspiracy which were quashed by the special court with the decision being upheld by the high court. The court order of May 2010 had said that there was no merit in the petition by the CBI.

NDTV reports said, the apex court will allow CBI to file a supplementary charge sheet against 13 persons by including the conspiracy charges

On Tuesday, a bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul had passed a verdict directing an amicable, out-of-court settlement in the ongoing dispute over the Ram Temple. The judgement was in response to BJP leader Subramanian Swamy plea urging the apex court to constitute a bench to hear a batch of petitions challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court order.

The 2010 order said that there should be a partition of the Ayodhya land between the parties to the dispute. The apex court said that since it is a sensitive and sentimental issue and it's best that it is settled amicably. The court also asked Swamy to consult the parties and mention the matter on or before 31 March. Swamy had sought an urgent hearing of 1992 Babri Masjid demolition in Supreme Court.

The court added that all parties should choose mediators to make a fresh attempt to settle the issue and if required, a principal mediator can be chosen by the court for settling the issue.

The newly elected chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath has been a strong votary of construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. He drove BJP's Hindutva campaign in eastern UP in the just concluded Assembly polls in the politically crucial state where it won three- fourths majority.

He had also said that the hurdles on the path of construction of a grand Ram temple will be gradually removed and its work will soon start in Ayodhya.

With inputs from agencies


Published Date: Mar 22, 2017 09:51 am | Updated Date: Mar 23, 2017 11:38 am


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