Supreme Court will hear Central Bureau of Investigation’s plea against the Allahabad High Court on dropping criminal charges against senior BJP leaders in the Babri Masjid demolition case and examine whether to revive the criminal conspiracy charges against Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh. The court will examine two sets of cases, one involving BJP veteran Advani who along with other party leaders were on the dais at Ram Katha Kunj in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992 when the Babri mosque was demolished and the other against lakhs of ‘karsevaks’ who surrounded the structure on the fateful day.
The CBI in its chargesheet charged Advani and 20 other party leaders under Sections 153A (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) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Later the investigative body invoked charges under section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC, but the charges were dropped by the special court, whose decision was later on upheld by the high court.
The Supreme Court, earlier on May 7, announced its decision to hear the two cases together and hinted it might revive conspiracy charges against Advani and others. The bench further added that it will not accept discharge of LK Advani and others only on technical grounds. “There are 13 persons who were discharged only on technical grounds. Today, we are saying why can’t we club both the cases and have a joint trial. We will not accept the discharge on technical grounds and we will allow supplementary charge sheet,” the bench said.
The 16th century mosque in Ayodhya became a bone of contention between Hindu and Muslim factions after the partition. On 6th December 1992, amid increasing tensions, a mob comprising of hundreds of people demolished Babri Masjid. Several BJP leaders including Advani and Joshi were present at the site at the time of the demolition.