A Supreme Court Bench led by Justice Rohinton Nariman extended the tenure of the Special Judge conducting the joint trial of the Babri Masjid demolition & criminal conspiracy cases.
The judge, who was scheduled to retire on September 30, had sought more time to complete the trial.
On April 19, 2017, the apex court gave the judge two years to complete the trial after reviving the criminal conspiracy charge against prominent BJP & Sangh Parivar leaders such as L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi & Uma Bharti in connection with the demolition of the 16th century mosque on December 6, 1992.
The court evoked the maxim ‘Let justice be done though the heavens fall’ to flex its extraordinary constitutional powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to bring the cases to justice. It extolled its “power, nay, the duty to do complete justice in a case when found necessary. In the present case, crimes which shake the secular fabric of the Constitution of India have allegedly been committed almost 25 years ago” in a 40-page judgment.
In 2017, the Supreme Court transferred the Rae Bareilly case, languishing in a magistrate court, to the CBI court in Lucknow for trial along with the Lucknow case, which is against “lakhs of unknown kar sevaks” & deals with the actual act of demolition & violence. It was being investigated by the CBI.
The Rae Bareilly case accuses the BJP & Sangh Parivar leaders of having given speeches to promote enmity & threatened national integration.
With the clubbing of the cases & revival of the conspiracy charge, the accused political leaders would be tried under the composite charge sheet filed by the CBI on October 5, 1993. The Bench agreed with the chargesheet’s finding that both the criminal conspiracy by the leaders & the actual demolition by kar sevaks were part of the “same transaction” & warranted a joint trial.