In a significant verdict, and major jolt to BJP, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that LK Advani and other top leaders of the BJP will be tried for criminal conspiracy in the demolition of the Babri Masjid case. The SC agreed with a request from the country’s top investigating agency, the CBI. Judges have also decided on daily hearings to meet a 2-year-deadline for a decision.
89-year-old Advani along with party colleagues Uma Bharti and Murli Manohar Joshi charged for making provocative speeches that provoked lakhs of right-wing volunteers or karsevaks to demolish the mosque in 1992.
Now, the BJP leaders, facing far more severe charges, will be tried in Lucknow. Kalyan Singh, who is a governor currently, received immunity from prosecution. His trial will start after his term in office gets over.
The CBI told the Supreme Court that 14 persons, including BJP leaders, who were acquitted of the charges under criminal conspiracy, should be tried in Lucknow Court in Babri demolition case. The CBI had chargesheeted Advani and 20 others 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).
Considering that the matter was pending for last 25 years, the bench of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman said that they would invoke extraordinary powers under the Constitution’s Article 142 to transfer the trial to Lucknow where the eight leaders, including and Joshi, could be tried for conspiracy along with 13 others.
The CBI claimed that it has evidence that the BJP leaders, who made their speeches on a stage near the mosque on that day, were part of the deadly plan to bring down the mosque. The agency said that Advani and other BJP leaders met in 1990 and decided that the mosque would be demolished and its razing was a pre-meditated, deliberate event.