A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court will begin hearing in the 1992 Babri Masjid Demolition Case today in Lucknow. Supreme Court has ordered the court to ensure a daily hearing is held and the verdict announced in 24 months – SC had made this announcement on April 19. Supreme Court was very critical of the CBI for delaying the case for over 25 years. Here are 10 points to know about this politically sensitive case:
1) The court in its first hearing in Utter Pradesh’s capital Lucknow granted bail to five Vishva Hindu Parishad leaders accused in the case on Saturday. The court granted bail to Ram Vilas Vedanti, Champat Rai (71), Baikunth Lal Sharma (88), Mahant Nritya Gopal Das (79) and Dharmdas Maharaj (68). The sixth accused had not appeared before it. The court granted bail to the five accused on two sureties of Rs 20,000 and a personal bond of the same amount.
2) Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh, who was the then Chief Minister of UP, is entitled to immunity under the Constitution as long as he held a gubernatorial position. The court will file charges against him when he ceases to be Governor.
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3) The Apex Court in its 40-page judgment, termed the Allahabad High Court’s February 12, 2001, verdict dropping conspiracy charge against former Dy Prime Minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani and others as “erroneous”. Out of eight VIP accused, Giriraj Kishore and Vishva Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal have died during trial and the proceedings against them have been abated.
4) A Supreme Court Bench comprising P C Ghose and R F Nariman have transferred proceedings of the case from the court of the Special Judicial Magistrate at Rae Bareilly to the Court of Additional Sessions Judge (Ayodhya Matters) at Lucknow.
5) The Supreme Court has ordered the CBI to ensure that on every date fixed for recording of evidence, some prosecution witnesses must remain present so that for want of witnesses the matter is not adjourned.