Babri Masjid case National

Supreme Court notice puts Advani, top BJP leaders in a fix

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the responses of BJP leader L.K. Advani and 19 others on a petition that sought their trial on charges of conspiracy to demolish the Babri Masjid in 1992.

The Central Bureau of Investigation that investigated the case had accused them all, but a trial court discharged them in a decision upheld by the Allahabad High Court in 2010.

The apex court intervention following a petition by Haji Mahboob Ahmad, a petitioner in the mosque demolition case, could revive the latent but inconclusive questions about the role of the senior leaders of the ruling party in the demolition that triggered violence across the country and polarised it.

A Bench led by Chief Justice H.L. Dattu issued notice to BJP veterans Mr. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Union Minister Uma Bharti and Himachal Pradesh Governor Kalyan Singh.

The Supreme Court also asked the CBI to explain why it unduly delayed the appeal against the HC order.

The agency has been given four weeks to file its reply.

Mr. Ahmad’s petition contends that the trial court bifurcated the actual demolition and instigation into separate cases.

Respondents may influence CBI, says plea

Mr. Ahmad, the petitioner, told the court that several respondents were holding powerful positions in the current government and might influence the CBI.

“It is further material to submit that in the last one year there has been a change of Central government wherein the leaders of the same political party [BJP] have become the … government ... The CBI may not seriously ... uphold the rule of law,” the petitioner alleged.

“The discharge of these leaders [by a trial court] who were accused in the case was a historical injustice. We sincerely hope that the apex court intervention will undo that injustice,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala. “[To give notice] is a normal practice. [But] the Congress, which is embroiled in several scams and has a former Prime Minister [Manmohan Singh] who has been summoned as an accused by court is now trying to do politics through courts,” said BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma.

Mr. Ahmad’s petition contends that the trial court made an “artificial distinction” and bifurcated the actual demolition and instigation into separate cases.

“It is submitted that the bifurcation attempted by the trial court, which has found favour with the High Court is completely erroneous in law. The acts of instigation, facilitation, the actual demolition of the Masjid, the continuous assault on the media persons, thus form a single connected transaction and can well be a concerted conspiracy under Section 120B of the IPC,” the petition argued. With this, the petition questions the very logic behind the separation of the trial into the mosque demolition.

The case timeline

  • 1949: Idols of Ram Lalla are placed surreptitiously under the central dome.
  • 1950: Gopal Simla Visharad files first suit in Faizabad civil court for rights to perform pooja to Ram Lalla.
  • 1950: Paramahansa Ramachandra Das files a suit for continuation of pooja and keeping idols in the structure.
  • 1959: Nirmohi Akhara files third suit, seeking direction to hand over charge of the disputed site. U.P. Sunni Central Wakf Board files fourth suit in 1961 for declaration and possession and fifth in 1989 in the name of Ram Lalla Virajman for declaration and possession.
  • 1986: District judge orders locks be removed. Site opened for Hindu worshippers.
  • 1989: The four suits pending were transferred to the High Court.
  • 1991: U.P. govt. acquires land around the structure for convenience of devotees who attend Ram Lalla darshan.
  • 1992: The mosque is completely demolished by kar sevaks on December 6, resulting in widespread communal riots.
  • 1993: Govt. takes over 67 acres of land around the area, seeks SC's opinion on whether there existed a Hindu place of worship before the structure was built.
  • 1994: Case goes back to Lucknow Bench of HC, suits heard again from 1996.
  • 2002: High Court orders a survey by the Archaeological Survey of India to find out whether a temple existed below the mosque or not.
  • 2010: Court awards two-thirds of Ayodhya site to Hindu parties, one-third to Waqf Board.

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Printable version | Sep 15, 2021 9:50:43 PM |

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