[(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: The Supreme Court of India on Thursday asked Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and others, accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case, to give their written submissions and adjourned the matter for two weeks.
A bench comprising Justices PC Ghose and RF Nariman asked all the parties in the case to file their written arguments by April 6 and posted the matter for further hearing on April 7.
At the hearing in the case started today morning, senior advocate KK Venugopal, appearing for the BJP leaders, sought permission from the court for appearing before another bench in a part-heard matter.
The bench allowed Venugopal’s plea but said that the parties should file their written submissions in the case before the next date of the hearing, according to PTI.
The Supreme Court had on March 06 indicated that LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and other BJP and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders may face trial in the Babri Masjid demolition case. The 17th century mosque was demolished on December 06, 1992.
The Supreme Court also came up with the option of ordering a joint trial of cases arising out of the two FIRs lodged in the wake of the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.
"There are 13 persons who were discharged only on technical grounds. Today, we are saying why can't we club both the cases and have a joint trial," a bench comprising Justices P C Ghose and R F Nariman said.
"We will not accept the discharge on technical grounds and we will allow supplementary charge sheet," the bench said.
These observations were made orally during a brief hearing by the bench, which posted the matter for further hearing on March 22.
Opposing this, Advani's lawyer had told the court that if conspiracy charges are added, then 183 witnesses who had testified in a lower court would have to be called again.
Of the two cases in the Babri Masjid demolitioncase, one is against Advani and the other BJP leaders who were on the dais at a raised platform called "Ram Katha Kunj" around 200 metres from the mosque site, where many provocative speeches were allegedly made.
The other case is against lakhs of unknown "kar sevaks" who were in and around the disputed structure and are accused of pulling down the three domes in an act that changed the face of Indian politics and caused a deep rift between two communities.
The Allahabad High Court had earlier dropped the conspiracy charges against LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Kalyan Singh and other BJP and VHP leaders. But now the Supreme Court was hearing a petition by the CBI challenging Allahabad High Court’s order of acquittal and a petition by Mehboob Ahmad.