SC hints at possibility of transferring Babri demolition cases to Lucknow

06 April 2017

The Supreme Court today expressed concern over the inordinate delay in the Babri Masjid case proceedings and called for joint trial of all the accused in the case, media reports said.

The Supreme Court, while hinting at ordering day-to-day hearing in the case, said it may transfer the trial to Lucknow. The apex court said that the trials of the accused in Lucknow and Rae Bareli should be clubbed together.

"It's in cases like these where over 17 years have passed since the high court. The question is whether we permit evasion of law (on technical grounds) or allow evasion of justice," the top court observed.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today pleaded before the Supreme Court that conspiracy charges against former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) presidents LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and other leaders in Babri demolition case should be revived.

A Rae Bareli court had earlier absolved Advani of criminal conspiracy charges but the lawyer appearing for the CBI wanted the criminal charges against LK Advani and other BJP leaders revived.

The CBI had booked several BJP leaders, including Advani, Joshi, Uma Bharti, Kalyan Singh and Vinay Katiyar, but they were freed by a court in Rae Bareli of conspiracy charges. In 2010, the Allahabad High Court confirmed this decision.

The Supreme Court was to examine the appeal against dropping of conspiracy charge against the accused including Advani, Joshi and Uma Bharti in the case related to demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992.

The top court had also came up with an option of ordering a joint trial of cases arising out of the two FIRs lodged in the wake of the demolition of the disputed structure.

Reacting to the CBI's charge, counsel for the accused Vinay Katiyar said the central agency appears to be confused as far as the Babri case probe is concerned. "No speech inciting the mob was made," he said.

He also opposed the clubbing of two FIRs on the ground that there were different sets of persons named as accused in the two cases, the trial of which were at an advanced stage at two different places.

They were of the view that joint trial would lead to the beginning of proceedings 'de novo'.

Altogether, 13 persons including Advani, Joshi and Bharti were discharged of conspiracy charge in the case, the trial of which is being held at a special court in Rae Bareli.

The second set of cases 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 6 December 1992.

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