NEW DELHI: The Babri Masjid demolition is just an incident and there is nothing famous or infamous about it, the Supreme Court said on Monday while listing Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) plea for levelling charges of criminal conspiracy against senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and 18 others to March 27.
"What is famous about it. It was an incident which happened and parties are before us. It is not famous or infamous," a bench of Justices HL Dattu and CK Prasad said when the Additional Solicitor General said at the beginning of the proceeding that the matter is related to "famous" Babri Masjid demolition case.
The proceeding before the bench could not go on as it was mentioned that some of the parties in the case have not filed their response and the case was then adjourned.
The apex court had on March 4, 2011 issued notice to 21 people including Advani, Thackeray, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti, Satish Pradhan, CR Bansal, MM Joshi, Vinay Katiyar, Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Sadhvi Ritambhara, VH Dalmia, Mahant Avaidhynath, RV Vedanti, Param Hans Ram Chandra Das, Jagdish Muni Maharaj, BL Sharma, Nritya Gopal Das, Dharam Das, Satish Nagar and Moreshwar Save.
The court had asked all of them to file their response on why criminal conspiracy charges should not be revived against them in the Babri Masjid demolition case.
It had passed the order on an appeal filed by CBI challenging the May 21, 2010 Allahabad High Court judgement upholding a special court's decision to drop the charges against the leaders.
The High Court had at that time, however, allowed the CBI to proceed with the other charges against Advani and others in a Rae Bareily court since the disputed structure falls under its jurisdiction.
Challenging the High Court order, the CBI has said in its petition that "it appears an artificial distinction was made by the trial court attempting to assign a role in respect of each of the accused persons and to see which offences were made out.
It said that the trial court had erroneously come to the conclusion that 21 persons were not entitled to be tried in the case (pertaining to the demolition on December 6, 1992).
"The order passed by the High Court results in serious miscarriage of justice, violates the principle of consolidated investigation, consolidated charge sheet and also disables an effective trial," the petition said.
The May 2010 order of the High Court had said there was no merit in the CBI's revision petition challenging the May 4, 2001 order of the special court which directed dropping of criminal conspiracy charges against them.
There are two sets of cases - one against Advani and others who were on the dais at Ram Katha Kunj in Ayodhya in December 1992 when the Babri Masjid was demolished, while the other case was against lakhs of unknown 'karsevaks' who were in and around the disputed structure.
The CBI had chargesheeted Advani and 20 others under sections 153A IPC (promoting enmity between classes), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 505 (false statements, rumours etc circulated with the intent to cause mutiny or disturb public peace).
But it subsequently invoked charges under Section 120 B (Criminal Conspiracy) which was quashed by the Special Court whose decision was upheld by the High Court.
The High Court while upholding the special court's order had said that the CBI at no point of time, either during the trial at Rae Bareily or in its revision petition, ever stated that there was offence of criminal conspiracy against the leaders.