In a major development, the Supreme Court on Friday, has directed the CBI Court in Lucknow to conduct the proceedings of the Babri Masjid demolition case. Moreover, the apex court has stated that the trial and the verdict in the case must be delivered by August 31, 2020. The Supreme Court has already given a unanimous verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi- Babri Masjid land dispute on November 9, 2019.
In May 2017, the special CBI court charged BJP leaders L.K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Union Minister Uma Bharti and others with criminal conspiracy in the Babri Masjid demolition case, as per reports. The delay in the examination of the eye-witnesses had reportedly been due to delay in framing charges against senior BJP leader Kalyan Singh - who enjoyed immunity as the Governor of Rajasthan. Singh had been the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, when a mob demolished the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.
Till date, the 336 witnesses have been examined in the Babri Demolition case and remaining 35-40 witnesses are yet to be examined, as per reports. The Supreme Court in April, 2017 used its powers under Article 142 to restore the criminal conspiracy charges framed against several BJP veterans - L.K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and three others - former MP Vinay Katiyar and VHP leaders Vishnu Hari Dalmia and Sadhvi Ritambhara. It had also overruled the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment which had upheld a special CBI court’s decision in 2001, to drop conspiracy charges against Advani and others.
The Supreme Court tranferred the Rae Bareli case in the demolition, clubbing it with the Lucnow case in the CBI court. The charges against the BJP leaders include - rioting, unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object, promoting enmity between different groups, assertions prejudicial to national-integration, statements conducing to public mischief apart from criminal conspiracy. The special court has also framed charges against former BJP MP Ram Vilas Vedanti, Mahant Nrityagopal Das , Shiv Sena leader Satish Pradhan, VHP leader Champat Rai, Mahant Dharmdas and B.L. Sharma - charging them with criminal conspiracy and IPC sections for damaging or defiling place of worship, deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings.
On December 6, 1992 a rally had been allegedly organised in the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi area where the 16th century Babri Masjid stood - which attracted 1,50,000 kar sevaks. The rally - allegedly organised by the BJP & VHP - turned violent when kar sevaks attacked security personnel and demolished the mosque. The demolition caused communal riots which caused deaths of thousands.