27 July, 2021

Title Suit Vs Forgotten Crime

Delay in disposing of the Babri Masjid demolition case has not amused Justice MS Liberhan, whose Commission had accused LK Advani, Uma Bharti and MM Joshi guilty of inciting communal discord

Three Old Musketeers
L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti have­ ­appeared in the Babri masjid demolition trial only once, when charges were framed on May 30, 2017
Photograph by Getty Images
Title Suit Vs Forgotten Crime

For the past three weeks now, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court has been ­assembling on every working day to hear submissions by lawyers appearing in the Babri masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title suit. Led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, the bench has to decide which of the parties in the decades-old case has a valid claim over the 2.77 acres of disputed land in Ayodhya. With Gogoi retiring on ­November 17, the buzz is that the country’s most politically and communally sensitive case may finally see ­closure in the months ahead.

Some 550 km away, in the Old High Court complex of Lucknow, another trial is on. This one seeks to fix the culpability of “lakhs of kar sevaks”—a majority of them still unidentified—who participated in the demolition of the Babri masjid on December 6, 1992. The trial in Lucknow is also to determine if BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and several other members of Sangh Parivar outfits such as the RSS, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal were guilty of a criminal...

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