A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court will on Monday resume hearing in the Babri Masjid Demolition case. Earlier on Saturday, the ministers, who were facing charges in connection with the same case, were granted bail by the court. The accused were granted bail after signing a surety bond worth Rs. 20,000. The five accused, namely former MP R.V. Vedanti, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Champat Rai, B.L. Sharma, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das and Dharamdas, were asked to appear before the court after a notice was issued to them. The court was hearing a case against the accused alleged to having been involved in demolition of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya in 1992.
This comes a week after the Supreme Court allowed the CBI’s appeal in the Babri Masjid demolition case and restored criminal conspiracy charges against BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh among others.
However, Kalyan Singh, who was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1992, enjoys constitutional immunity as the Rajasthan Governor and can be tried only after he leaves office. The apex court ordered that two separate cases in Lucknow and Raebareli against Advani, Joshi and Bharti and unknown ‘kar sevaks’ shall be brought together in one trial.
The Supreme Court also directed the trial court in Lucknow to commence the proceedings in four weeks and hear the matter on a day-to-day basis so as to complete the hearing in two years. The apex court also said there will be no ‘de novo’ (fresh) trial. The CBI has been ordered to ensure that at least one prosecution witness appears in the trial court for recording of testimony.
To ensure a speedy trial, the top court has given two important directions – first, no party shall be granted adjournments without the sessions’ judge being satisfied with the reasons for it; second, the trial judge hearing the case shall not be transferred till the judgement is delivered. The Supreme Court also said that its order should be followed in letter and spirit. If the parties involved feel that the top court’s order is not being followed in letter and spirit then they will have the liberty to approach the apex court.