Advani, Bharti, Joshi to stand trial in Ayodhya case
Top BJP leaders L K Advani, M M Joshi and Uma Bharti will be tried for criminal conspiracy in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case as the Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the CBI plea to restore the charge against them.
The court also clubbed the trial in the matter pending against the leaders and 'karsevaks' and ordered the day-to-day trial with the proceedings to be completed in two years.
"We have allowed the CBI appeal against the Allahabad High Court judgement with certain directions," a bench comprising Justices P C Ghose and R F Nariman said.
The apex court, however, noted that Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh enjoys Constitutional immunity and can be tried only after he ceases to hold the office. Kalyan Singh was the chief minister of UP in 1992.
The court said separate trials being conducted in trial courts at Raebareli and Lucknow will be clubbed and conducted in the capital of Uttar Pradesh only.
It also said that the trial judge of Lucknow "shall not be transferred" till conclusion and delivery of judgement in the sensational case.
The court further said that no party shall be granted adjournment without the sessions judge being satisfied with the reasons for it.
It also directed the probe agency CBI to ensure that prosecution witnesses appear on each and every date for recording of evidence in the case and the trial court should start the proceedings within four weeks from Wednesday.
It, however, made it clear that there would be no de novo (fresh) trial in the matter.
The bench also directed that its order should be followed in letter and spirit and granted liberty to the parties to approach it if its directions are not followed.
There were two sets of cases relating to the demolition of the disputed structure on December 6, 1992. The first involved unnamed 'karsevaks', the trial of which is taking place in a Lucknow court, while the second set of cases relate to the leaders in a Raebareli court.
On April 6, the bench had indicated that it may order holding a joint trial of the two sets of cases by transferring the trial from Rae Bareli to the Lucknow court.
It had also said since 25 years have already passed, in the interest of justice, it would consider ordering a time-bound trial on the day-to-day basis, to be completed preferably within two years