Justice Gowda recuses from hearing Babri Masjid case

New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday did not hold the hearing on the CBI’s plea challenging the May 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict discharging BJP leaders including L.K. Advani of criminal conspiracy in the razing of the Babri Masjid in 1992 as Justice V. Gopala Gowda recused himself from hearing the matter.

“List these cases before a Bench which does not comprise one of us,” said the apex court bench comprising Justice Gowda and Justice Arun Mishra after Justice Gowda recused himself.

The apex court on March 31 had issued notice to Advani, BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, union minister Uma Bharti, Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh and 15 others on a petition by the CBI challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict discharging them of criminal conspiracy in the demolition of the Babri mosque in 1992.

The CBI moved the apex court on February 18, 2011, nearly nine months after the Allahabad High Court verdict.

The Allahabad High Court had on May 20, 2010 absolved Advani and others of the charge of criminal conspiracy that led to the razing of the 16th century mosque in the Uttar Pradesh town of Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.

The CBI had said in its appeal before the apex court that the high court ruling discharging Advani and others of the offence of criminal conspiracy “is inconsistent with the previous judgment rendered by the Allahabad High Court on February 12, 2001”.

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court had held that the trial court committed no illegality in taking “cognizance of joint consolidated chargesheet” and “all the offences were committed in the course of the same transaction to accomplish the conspiracy”.

The high court had noted that the “evidence for all the offences was almost the same”.

Besides Advani, others accused in the case include Joshi, Vinay Katiyar, Uma Bharti, Sadhvi Ritambrara, Mahant Avaidyanath and Kalyan Singh, who was the Uttar Pradesh chief minister when the Babri mosque was razed.

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