New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday preponed by about two months the date of hearing in Babri Masjid demolition case against L K Advani and 19 others after CBI pleaded for an early hearing which was not opposed by the senior BJP leader.
A bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi, before whom the matter was mentioned by the CBI, passed the order and preponed the case to first week of October which was earlier listed for hearing in December.
The case was filed by CBI challenging Allahabad High Court`s verdict on dropping conspiracy charge against Advani and 19 others in Babri Masjid demolition case.
Pleading for early hearing, senior advocate P P Rao, appearing for CBI, submitted that the case was earlier directed to be listed in September for hearing but registry record says that the matter will be taken up by the apex court in December.
Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for Advani, also agreed to preponement of the hearing date.
The apex court had earlier pulled up CBI for the delay in filing an appeal against the Allahabad High Court verdict.
CBI had filed an appeal in the apex court challenging the verdicts of a special CBI court and the Allahabad High Court dropping conspiracy charge against Advani, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar and Murli Manohar Joshi.
The others against whom the charge was dropped included Satish Pradhan, C R Bansal, Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Sadhvi Ritambhara, V H Dalmia, Mahant Avaidhynath, R V Vedanti, Param Hans Ram Chandra Das, Jagdish Muni Maharaj, B L Sharma, Nritya Gopal Das, Dharam Das, Satish Nagar and Moreshwar Save.
Bal Thackeray`s name was removed from the list of accused persons after his death.
CBI has challenged in the Supreme Court the May 21, 2010 order of the high court, which had upheld a special court`s decision to drop the charge against the leaders.
The high court at that time, however, had allowed CBI to proceed with other charges against Advani and others in a Rae Bareily court, under whose jurisdiction the case falls.
The May 2010 order of the high court had said there was no merit in CBI`s revision petition against the May 4, 2001 order of the special court which had directed dropping of criminal conspiracy charge against them.
There are two sets of cases -- one against Advani and others who were on the dais at Ram Katha Kunj in Ayodhya on December 6, 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.
CBI had chargesheeted Advani and 20 others under sections 153A (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) of the IPC.
It had subsequently invoked charges under section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC which was quashed by the special court whose decision was upheld by the high court.
While upholding the special court`s order, the high court had said 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.