Senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Muli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti will face trial in the Ayodhya disputed structure case as the Supreme Court today allowed the CBI plea and restored criminal conspiracy charges against them. The court also clubbed the trial in the matter pending against the leaders and karsevaks and said the proceedings should be completed in two years.
A bench comprising Justices PC Ghose and RF Nariman noted that Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh enjoys Constitutional immunity and can be tried only after he ceases to hold the office. Kalyan Singh was the chief minister of UP in 1992.
Vinay Katiyar, Sadhvi Ritambara, Satish Pradhan, Champat Rai Bansal and Late Giriraj Kishore are among others who will face criminal conspiracy in the case. The court also gave significant directions including that separate trials being conducted in trial courts at Raebareli and Lucknow will be clubbed and conducted in the Lucknow only. It also said that the trial judge of Lucknow shall not be transferred till conclusion and delivery of judgment in the sensational case.
The court further said that no party shall be granted adjournment without the sessions judge being satisfied of the reasons for it and conduct day-to-day trial. It also directed CBI to ensure that prosecution witnesses appear on each and every date for recording of evidence in the case and the trial court should start the proceedings within four weeks from today.
It, however, clarified that there would be no fresh trial in the matter. The bench also directed that its order should be followed in letter and spirit and granted liberty to the parties to approach it if its directions are not followed.
There were two sets of cases relating to the demolition of the disputed structure on December 6, 1992. The first involved unnamed ‘karsevaks’, the trial of which is taking place in a Lucknow court, while the second set of cases relate to the leaders is in a Raebareli court.
Reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision, Union Minister Uma Bharti said, she is ready to face trial in the case.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley has ruled out Uma Bharti’s resignation. Replying to a media query, he described as hypothetical the possibility of the Supreme Court ruling having any bearing in selection of candidates for posts of the President and the Vice President.