The special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court has asked all accused including Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani, Union Minister Uma Bharti and Murli Manohar Joshi to appear before it on May 30 in connection with the Babri Masjid demolition case.
Earlier on Monday, the court postponed the hearing as Satish Pradhan, one of the accused, did not appear before it.”I came for the hearing as I was summoned by the court. This is our judiciary,” Pradhan told ANI.
The Supreme Court on April 19 directed the special court to start proceedings in the matter within a month and deliver its verdict within two years. On May 20, the special CBI court began day-to-day hearing in the politically-sensitive case and granted bail to the five Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders after signing a surety bond worth Rs. 20,000.
The court was hearing a case against the accused alleged to having been involved in demolition of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya in 1992.
This comes after the Supreme Court allowed the CBI’s appeal in the Babri Masjid demolition case and restored criminal conspiracy charges against Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh among others.
However, Kalyan Singh, who was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1992, enjoys constitutional immunity as the Rajasthan Governor and can be tried only after he leaves office.
The apex court ordered that two separate cases in Lucknow and Raebareli against Advani, Joshi and Bharti and unknown ‘kar sevaks’ shall be brought together in one trial.
The apex court also directed the trial court in Lucknow to commence the proceedings in four weeks and hear the matter on a day-to-day basis so as to complete the hearing in two years. The apex court also said there will be no ‘de novo’ (fresh) trial.
The CBI has been ordered to ensure that at least one prosecution witness appears in the trial court for recording of testimony.
To ensure a speedy trial, the top court has given two important directions – first, no party shall be granted adjournments without the sessions’ judge being satisfied of the reasons for it; second, the trial judge hearing the case shall not be transferred till the judgement is delivered