SC reserves order on plea against Advani, Joshi, Uma in Babri demolition case

NEW DELHI
6 Apr 2017

The Supreme Court today reserved its order on a petition seeking restoration of conspiracy charges against senior BJP leaders including L K Advani, M M Joshi and Uma Bharti in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

The apex court will also decide whether the trial of the VVIP accused can be transferred from a court in Rae Bareli to Lucknow. There were two sets of cases relating the demolition of the disputed structure on December 6, 1992. The first involved unnamed 'karsevaks', the trial in which is taking place in a Lucknow court in Lucknow, while the second set of cases relates to the VVIPs in a Rae Bareli court. A bench comprising Justices P C Ghose and R F Nariman also indicated that they may order holding of joint trial of the two sets of cases by transferring the trial from Raebareli to a Lucknow court.

The bench also said since 25 years have already passed, in the interest of justice it will consider ordering a time-bound trial on day-to-day basis, to be completed preferably within two years. Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for Advani and Joshi, vociferously opposed the proposal for holding joint trial and transferring their case from Rae Bareli to Lucknow. The CBI clarified that it was not making any submission on the issue of the trial of the VVIP accused but restricting itself to restoration of the charge of conspiracy against the accused.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for one of the intervenors, supported the proposal for a joint trial, contending the two sets of cases had arisen from one incident which allegedly involved single conspiracy. The apex court also gave opportunity to all the parties to file their written submission by Tuesday. The Supreme Court had earlier decided to examine the appeal against dropping of conspiracy charge against Advani, Joshi, Uma Bharti and 10 others.