Babri demolition case: SC notice to Advani, Joshi

SC to hold final hearing in Babri demolition conspiracy case on April 1

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to BJP leaders L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi and 17 others on a petition challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict discharging them of criminal conspiracy in connection with the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992.

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Apart from Advani and Joshi, notices were issued among others to Union Ministers Uma Bharti and Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh – who was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1992.


Meanwhile, the apex court is all set to take up on Wednesday, April 1, for final hearing the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) appeal challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict of May 2010 discharging Advani and 19 other senior BJP leaders and other those from other Hindu outfits of charges of criminal conspiracy in the Babri mosque demolition on December 6, 1992.

A bench of chief justice H L Dattu and justice Arun Mishra will hear the CBI’s appeal. The apex court had directed it to be listed for final hearing on April 1.

The SC notice was issued as counsel Kapil Sibal told the court that a fresh application had been moved by Haji Mahboob Ahmed challenging the HC verdict.

The notice on the CBI plea was issued March 3, 2011 and the matter has been listed before the court 23 times. Though the matter is pending before the apex court since March 3, 2011, but it for the first time it is coming up for hearing after formation of the Narendra Modi government triggering speculation whether there would be any shift in the stand of the government from the one taken by the UPA government.
In the matter about notice to Advani and others, the apex court also gave the CBI four weeks to get the papers to support its case challenging the discharge of Advani and others.

Additional Solicitor General Neeraj Kishan Kaul told the apex court that the CBI had filed an affidavit explaining the delay in filing the petition challenging the high court ruling.

The apex court, while noting that delay in filing the petition by the CBI was on account of its drafting and approval by the central government’s senior law officer, said that the then bench of Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar on February 4, 2013 had asked the government to file an affidavit to explain the reasons for the delay.

Allowing four weeks’ time, the court said it would hear the matter on the question of both delay and merits.

The CBI moved the apex court on February 18, 2011, nearly nine months after the Allahabad High Court verdict. The notice on the CBI plea was issued on March 3, 2011.

The CBI said in its appeal before the apex court that the high court ruling discharging Advani and others of the offence of criminal conspiracy “is inconsistent with the previous judgement rendered by the Allahabad High Court on February 12, 2001.”

The other accused in the case include Vinay Katiyar, Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, H Dalmiya, Sadhvi Rithambara and Mahant Avaidyanath. Kishore and Mahant Avaidyanath have passed away, and their names will be taken off.