The charges for which BJP stalwarts L K Advani, M M Joshi, Uma Bharti and other VVIPs will be tried in the politically sensitive Babri Masjid demolition case, entails a punishment ranging from two to five years imprisonment. The Supreme Court today restored the offence of criminal conspiracy which was originally invoked against them along with other charges in the case.
They will be tried under Indian Penal Code offences for allegedly promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion etc, imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration and statements conducing to public mischief of the IPC for which the maximum punishment is five years. Other charges of injuring or defiling place of worship with the intent to insult the religion of any class entails maximum sentence of two years, while for the offence of deliberate and malicious acts intending to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs, carriesa maximum penalty of a three-year jail term.
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Besides Advani(89), Joshi(83) and Bharti(57), others who will face trial are Champat Rai Bansal, Satish Pradhan, Dharam Das, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, Mahamadleshwar Jagdish Muni, Ram Bilas Vadanti, Vaikunth Lal Sharma and Satish Chandra Nagar. Those who have since died include Bal Thackeray, Giriraj Kishore, Ashok Singhal and Paramhans Ram Chandra Das.
In the other case, charges framed against unknown karsevaks involve dacoity, which entails minimum 10 years jail or life imprisonment. Other charges include robbery which entails a punishment of seven years, causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others and trespassing which carry two year and one year imprisonment. The remaining charges are the same as that of the VIPs.