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Babri Masjid demolition verdict: CBI judge says incident not pre-planned, All 32 accused including LK Advani, MM Joshi acquitted

On Wednesday, 30 September 2020, a special CBI Court at Lucknow delivered the most awaited judgment in the 6 December 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case. The Special CBI Court acquitted all 32 persons accused of hatching the criminal conspiracy behind the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

By: Shikha Awasthi, B.A-LL.B, LL.M (IP Laws)

The Babri Masjid was demolished on 6 December 1992, by ‘kar sevaks’ who claimed that it had built on the site of an ancient Ram temple. The demolition had triggered riots in many parts of the country that left nearly 2,000 dead.

Following this, two cases were filed in Ayodhya : one related to the conspiracy of the demolition, and another about the instigation of the crowd. The remaining cases were merged with the conspiracy FIR.

The Supreme Court said;

“On 6 December 1992, the structure of the mosque was brought down and the mosque was destroyed. The destruction of the mosque took place in breach of the order of status quo and an assurance given to this Court. The destruction of the mosque and the obliteration of the Islamic structure was an egregious violation of the rule of law.”

Special CBI Judge S K Yadav, acquitted 32 persons include senior BJP leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharati, Kalyan Singh, etc. The Court observed that the demolition of the mosque was not premeditated and that there was no criminal conspiracy behind it. The people who demolished the mosque were “anti-national elements” the accused people were trying to control the crowds.

Among the 32 accused, LK Advani, MM Joshi, Uma Bharti, and Kalyan Singh were not present in the court for the hearing. While Advani and Joshi were advised not to travel due to age and the coronavirus disease pandemic and attended the hearing through video link, Bharti and Singh have contracted Covid-19.

The court ruled that the CBI had not been able to establish that there was a conspiracy to demolish the structure, holding that the demolition was not preplanned but a spontaneous act primarily carried out by mischievous elements.

The 32 accused face charges under several sections of the IPC, including criminal conspiracy, rioting, promoting enmity between different groups, and unlawful assembly. During the trial, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) produced 351 witnesses and 600 documents as evidence before the CBI court. The court had initially framed charges against 49 accused; 17 accused have died.

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