New Delhi, March 10
Supreme Court Judge Gopala Gowda on Thursday opted out of hearing Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) appeal against dropping criminal conspiracy charges against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders LK Advani, Uma Bharti and MM Joshi and Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh in the Babri Masjid demolition case of 1992.
The Bench of Justices Gowda and Arun Mishra said Chief Justice TS Thakur was being requested to send the case to another Bench.
In March 2015, a Bench of then CJI HL Dattu and Justice AK Mishra had issued notices to the BJP leaders for their responses on a fresh appeal. Among the others named respondents in the petition were Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore and Vishnu Hari Dalmiya.
The petitioner, Haji Mehboob Ahmed, was a litigant in the mandir/masjid title dispute. The Supreme Court had said it would hear the appeals of the CBI and Ahmed on merit as well as on the question of delay in challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict of May 20, 2010.
Ahmed said he apprehended a U-turn by the CBI in the case in view of the change of guard at the Centre. The CBI had filed the appeal in February 2011, contending that dropping criminal conspiracy charges under Section 120B IPC against 21 of the 47 accused persons was “entirely unjustified and untenable”.
The high court had upheld the May 2001 decision of a Special Judge trying the case at Rae Bareilly to drop the conspiracy charges against Advani and 20 others.
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