Advani to face trial in Babri demolition case
Babri Masjid demolition on Wednesday returned to haunt BJP president LK Advani when the Allahabad High Court set aside a trial court order discharging him in the case and also directed trial against eight others including Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Ashok Singhal.
Disposing of criminal revision petitions filed against Advani's discharge by a Rae Bareli court in September,2003, Justice YR Tripathi also directed the former Deputy Prime Minister to appear before the trial court on July 28 to "receive further directions".
"The criminal revision petition (filed by Haji Mehboob and Mohd Siddique is allowed and the impugned order of 2003) insofar as it relates to the discharge of LK Advani is set aside.
"It is directed that LK Advani along with five criminal revision petititoners (Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar, Ashok Singhal, Acharya Giriraj Kishore, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya and Sadhvi Ritambhara) shall also be charged and tried for the offences under Section 149 and sub-section (1) of 505 of IPC ready with Section 149 in accordance with law," Justice Tripathi observed in his 45-page order.
Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code deals with intention to provoke people for rioting, arson and indulging in rioting with intention to create disorder, while sub-section (1) of 505 deals with delivering fiery speeches which will hurt religious feelings and create discord among different communities.
Dismissing the revision petitions of the eight accused, other than Advani, as "being devoid of merit", Justice Tripathi also vacated the interim order of stay granted by him to them against the Rae Bareli order for conduct of trial.
"The interim order, if any, shall stand discharged and the record of the court requisitioned in this case shall be sent forthwith to it with the direction that it try to dispose of this case expeditiously as already more than 12 years had elapsed since the incident took place and the case is still at the stage of framing of charges," the judge observed.
The Sept 19, 2003, order of the Special CBI Court in Rae Bareli headed by Special Judicial Magistrate VK Singh had held that charges under section 149, 153-A and B (spreading communal harmony) and 505 of the IPC were not not made out against Advani and discharged him. His personal bond was cancelled and his sureties were released.
The order then led to resignation of the then HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi, who had earlier taken the stand that those against whom the court upholds the framing of charges should give up their posts.
The then former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was away on a foreign tour, came back and later rejected Joshi's resignation.
In discharging Advani, the trial court had then observed that a few statements of witnesses did lead to a prima facie case against him but the remaining accounts of witnesses contracdicted them. "Only suspicion has been raised to implicate Advani," the court had then said.
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