New Delhi, April 18
The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce its verdict on Wednesday on the CBI’s plea seeking revival of the criminal conspiracy charge against eight senior BJP and VHP leaders including L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case.
A bench of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman had reserved the order on April 6 after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and other petitioners had sought the restoration of conspiracy charge against the senior Bharatiya Janata Party and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders.
The judgment is likely to be pronounced by Justice Nariman.
The CBI had moved the top court against May 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict dropping conspiracy charge against the leaders.
Advani and Joshi, along with Uma Bharti and Vinay Katiyar (BJP), Sadhvi Rithambra, Acharya Giriraj Kishore, Ashok Singhal and Vishnu Hari Dalmia (VHP) were facing trial for making speeches from the dais at Ramkatha Kunj prior to the razing of the 16th century mosque in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya on December 6, 1992 by Hindu right-wing activists. The spot was just 200 meters away from the disputed structure. Kishore and Singhal have since passed away. On April 6 before reserving the order, the top court bench had indicated that as far as conspiracy charge was concerned it may invoke extraordinary powers under the Constitution’s Article 142 and transfer the ongoing trial from Rae Bareli to Lucknow so that eight leaders, including Advani and Joshi, could be tried for conspiracy along with 13 others.
Both Advani and Joshi had opposed top court taking recourse to Article 142 for transferring the trial to Lucknow and the revival of the conspiracy charge.
They had contended that their fundamental rights under Article 14 and Article 21, could not be eclipsed by top court taking recourse to its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the constitution.
However, the bench asked: “What about Article 21 when it comes to the rights of the victims. Article 21 has many facets” and referred to nine judge constitution bench judgment which said: “You can’t show fundamental rights to the court in exercise of its powers under Article 142.”
New Delhi, April 18