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Babri Masjid demolition case: L.K. Advani, M.M. Joshi, Uma Bharti to face trail

LiveMint logoLiveMint 19-04-2017 Apurva Vishwanath

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday revived the 25-year-old trial in the Ayodhya-Babri Masjid dispute by allowing fresh charges of criminal conspiracy against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders L.K. Advani, Murali Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and 13 others.

A bench comprising justices P.C. Ghose and Rohinton Nariman also directed transfer of cases from a court in Rae Bareilly to a special court in Lucknow that is also hearing certain related cases on the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition issue.

“We grant liberty to all parties to approach us in case our orders are not fully followed in letter and spirit,” the court said.

The apex court also directed that the trial must conclude in 2 years without adjourning the case. The court also said that the special judge will not be transferred till the trial is completed.

Out of the 13 accused in the case, BJP leader Kalyan Singh will not face fresh charges as he enjoys constitutional immunity as the Governor of Rajasthan.

“Charges will be made out against him the minute he ceases office,” the court said.

The Central Bureau of Investigation had sought the court’s nod to add fresh charges against 16 accused.

On 6 March, the apex court had decided to examine the appeal against dropping of conspiracy charge against the accused including Advani, Joshi and Bharti.

Currently, a sessions court in Lucknow has put 47 karsevaks or volunteers who were in and around the disputed structure on trial. In the last 25 years, 195 witnesses have been examined and 800 more are yet to testify before the court.

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