Babri Masjid case: SC suggests out-of-court settlement
The Supreme Court has recommended all parties involved in the Ramjanambhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute to end the same through honest and sincere negotiations. The bench added that the parties needed to embrace the 'give a bit and take a bit' approach. Subramanian Swamy, however, urged judicial intervention in the matter. The apex court asked Swamy to cite the matter again on 31st March.
The Babri Mosque was built by Babar, India's first Mughal emperor in 1528. Hindus claim that a Ram temple that originally stood there was demolished to construct the mosque.
In 1949, idols of Hindu gods were placed in the mosque, leading to communal tensions. The government declared the site "disputed" and sealed the gates for nearly 40 years. In 1986, a district court ordered the gates to be opened and also allowed Hindu worshippers access to the "disputed structure". Around that time, a movement began to construct a Hindu temple at the site.
In 1984, the VHP led by Home Minister LK Advani began a campaign to "liberate" the "Ramjanmabhoomi" and build a temple in its place. In 1990, VHP volunteers accompanying LK Advani on a "rathyatra" partially damaged the structure. In 1991, BJP came to power in UP. In 1992, VHP and Shiv Sena volunteers demolished the mosque sparking communal riots across India, killing 2000 people.
In 1992, the Narasimha Rao government set up the Liberhan Commission to investigate the demolition of the mosque. The investigation sought to ascertain the role of several political leaders and fringe groups in inciting the demolition. In 2009, the Liberhan Commission submitted its findings accusing LK Advani and several BJP leaders of being involved in the demolition of the Babri Mosque.
In the 2002 UP assembly elections, the BJP refused to commit to constructing a temple at the disputed site. The VHP was adamant on the matter and set March 15 as the deadline for construction. In Feb 2002, miscreants attacked a train in Godhra, Gujarat believed to be carrying volunteers from Ayodhya, killing 58. Communal riots ensued in Gujarat, killing over 1000 people.
In 2001, a trial court ordered dropping charges against LK Advani and BJP leaders in the Babri Masjid case. In May 2010, the Allahabad HC upheld the order. The CBI challenged this decision in 2010. In April 2015, the SC issued notices to Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and others seeking their responses to a petition to indict them for their role in the case.
The Supreme Court will hear the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)'s plea against an Allahabad High Court order, that dropped criminal conspiracy charges against BJP leaders in the Babri Masjid demolition case. The cases include one against LK Advani and senior BJP leaders for their role in inciting the demolition. The second case is against volunteers who participated in the demolition of the mosque.
Hearing a petition by the CBI, challenging the Allahabad HC's dropping of conspiracy charges against 13 BJP and right-wing leaders in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case, the SC hinted that it may revive the charges. Justices PC Ghosh and RS Nariman posted the case for hearing on March 22. The charges could implicate LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh.