(L) Union Minister Uma Bharti hugging senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi after demolition od Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. (R) LK Advani and other BJP ledaers in a meeting (File Photo)]
New Delhi: Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, and other top leaders of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) including union minister Uma Bharti will be tried for criminal conspiracy in the demolition of the 17th-century Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.
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.
"We have allowed the CBI appeal against the Allahabad High Court judgement with certain directions," a bench comprising Justices P C Ghose and R F Nariman said.
Kalyan Singh, who was Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh when the Babri Masjid was demolished on December 06, 1992, is currently the Governor of Rajasthan and cannot be prosecuted while in office. His trial will begin after his term ends, the Supreme Court ruled.
LK Advani along with other BJP and VHP leaders like Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti is accused of making inflammatory speeches that motivated lakhs of right-wing volunteers or karsevaks to demolish the historic mosque. That trial was being held in Rae Bareli.
Now, the BJP leaders, facing far more serious charges, will be tried in Lucknow, where, so far, a separate case is dealing with about 20 people accused of the actual demolition of the mosque. By combining the two trials, the judges want to ensure that a verdict is delivered within two years.
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 in a Raebareli court.