The Supreme Court on Thursday deferred for a second time a plea challenging a trial court's decision to drop conspiracy charge against BJP leaders L K Advani, Murali Manohar Joshi and Union minister Uma Bharti and others in the Babri Masjid demolition case.
The top court deferred the hearing by two weeks after Advani’s counsel, senior advocate KK Venugopal said he was busy in another case. The next date of hearing is on April 6.
On Wednesday, the apex court had deferred for Thursday the hearing on the CBI plea.
The apex court will decide whether conspiracy charges will be revived against Advani, and other leaders like Murali Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court, expressing concern over delay in trial against people involved in the Babri Masjid demolition case, had said that a joint trial of the accused could be held in the matter to speed up the judicial process.
Senior BJP leaders, accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case, were acquitted by a court in Raebareli from conspiracy charges. The main case against the activists - who called themselves Karsevaks – is, however, still pending in the Lucknow trial court.
The CBI has challenged the Allahabad High Court’s ruling to acquit LK Advani, MM Joshi, Uma Bharti, the then UP Chief Minister and present Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh and others.
"We will not accept the discharge of Advani and others on technical grounds. We will allow you (CBI) to file a supplementary charge-sheet against 13 persons by including the conspiracy charges. We will ask the trial court to conduct a joint trial," the Supreme Court told CBI earlier this month.
Opposing the court’s directive, Advani’s lawyer said that if conspiracy charges are added, then all the 183 witnesses who had testified in the lower court would have to be called again.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court suggested that an out-of-court settlement is the best way to find a solution to the contentious Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid dispute.
The demolition of the Babri Masjid, on December 6, 1992 by kar sevaks of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), was one the biggest incidents in India after Independence which triggered communal riots across the country that had killed of hundreds people.