Babri Masjid Demolition Case: Won’t accept dropping of charges against Advani on technical grounds: SC

The Supreme Court of India on 6 March 2017 said that it will not accept discharge of senior BJP leader LK Advani and others in the Babri Masjid demolition case only on technical grounds. While making oral observations on the discharge of Advani and other BJP leaders like MM Joshi and Uma Bharti, the apex court kept the option open on reviving the conspiracy charge against them.

Besides, the apex court also came up with an option of ordering a joint trial of cases that arises out of the two FIRs, which were lodged in the wake of the demolition of the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri structure in Ayodhya in 1992. These observations were made during a brief hearing by the bench of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Rohinton F Nariman, who posted the matter for further hearing on 22 March 2017.

Altogether, thirteen people were discharged of the conspiracy charge in the case, the trial of which is being held at a special court in Raebareli. Few of them were LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Sadhvi Ritambhara, Vinay Katiyar, Giriraj Kishore and Vishnu Hari Dalmia. The two cases of the Babri Masjid Demolition Case on which the joint trail will be ordered in a Lucknow court by the Supreme Court are

• Crime No. 197/1992: It was registered in a police station of Ayodhya and deals with the actual demolition of the masjid. The case was filed against lakhs of unknown Kar Sevaks (volunteers). The karsevaks were accused of pulling down the three domes of the Masjid.

• Crime No. 198/1992: It was filed against 12 people for promoting enmity, promoting imputations and assertions prejudicial to national integration and statements conducing to public mischief. Some of the 12 accused in the case were Giriraj Kishore, Ashok Singhal, LK Advani, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya, Murli Manohar Joshi, Vinay Katiyar, Uma Bharti and Sadvi Ritambara. At the time of the incident, i.e. demolition of the masjid, they were standing on the dais at Ram Katha Kunj.

• Crime No. 197/1992: It calls for the maximum punishment of 10 years imprisonment.

• Crime No. 198/1992: It calls for the maximum punishment of five-year imprisonment.

These FIRs were filed shortly after the structure of the Babri Masjid was demolished on 6 December 1992. The two cases are being tried in courts of Rae Bareilly and Lucknow.

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