Babri demolition: SC may revive charges against Advani, others

The Supreme Court on Monday indicated that it may examine reviving conspiracy charges against top Bharatiya Janata Party leaders including L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

A Bench led by Justice P C Ghose posted the case for 22 March, when it is likely to hear arguments on this aspect.

The court was hearing an appeal filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation and Haji Mahboob Ahamad against the dropping of conspiracy charges against Advani and the other leaders, including Rajasthan governor Kalyan Singh, who was Uttar Pradesh chief minister at the time of the demolition.

The court is likely to club both the Lucknow and Rae Bareli cases involving the leaders.

In a hearing in 2015, the Supreme Court expressed concern over the delay in trial against people involved in the demolition and favoured a joint trial of the accused soon.

The court had sought the responses from Advani and 19 others on a petition that sought their trial on charges of conspiracy to demolish the Babri Masjid in 1992.

The CBI had accused them all, but a trial court discharged them in a decision upheld by the Allahabad High Court in 2010.

The Supreme Court's intervention could revive the latent but inconclusive questions about the role of the senior leaders of the ruling party in the demolition that triggered violence across the country and polarised it.

In 2015, a Bench led by then Chief Justice H L Dattu issued notices to Advani, Joshi, Bharti and Singh. The Supreme Court also asked the CBI to explain why it unduly delayed the appeal against the High Court order.

Ahmad's petition contended that the trial court bifurcated the actual demolition and instigation into separate cases. He had told the court that several respondents were holding powerful positions in the current government and might influence the CBI.

''It is further material to submit that in the last one year there has been a change of Central government wherein the leaders of the same political party [BJP] have become the government ... The CBI may not seriously ... uphold the rule of law,'' the petitioner alleged.