The Liberhan Commission report blaming the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership for the Babri Masjid demolition will not have much bearing on the ongoing criminal prosecution in the matter.
Under the law, a panel has a persuasive value and is a fact-finding body only. Its recommendations are neither mandatory nor binding on the government.
“I am astonished at the direct indictment of (former Prime Minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee. There is no evidence against him, (and) he was never examined by the Commission,” said advocate Anupam Gupta, who was the Commission’s counsel.
Legal experts say the report has no evidentiary value in the pending criminal cases. “Leaders like L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi are facing trial in the special CBI court of Rae Bareli. The government, therefore, cannot do much against them,” SC advocate Rajeev Dhawan said.
The government has a limited role to play even with regard to those who are not facing prosecution. Senior advocate P.P. Rao said: “The panel’s report can be a complaint on the basis of which the prosecuting agency (CBI) can probe the role of new persons indicted. They (will) become the accused if the investigating agency finds evidence against them and not just on the basis of this report.”