"CBI Court acted with material irregularity", appeal filed in Allahabad High Court against acquittals in Babri Masjid demolition case

The appeal states that the common intention of all the acquitted individuals to demolish the Mosque "stood proved by the testimony of a large number of witnesses."
"CBI Court acted with material irregularity", appeal filed in Allahabad High Court against acquittals in Babri Masjid demolition case
Babri Masjid

Two Ayodhya residents have moved the Allahabad High Court in appeal against the Special CBI Court's ruling in September last year that acquitted all 32 accused including BJP veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case.

Haji Mahboob and Haji Sayyad Akhlaq Ahmad have filed the petition before the Lucknow Bench of the High Court on behalf of All India Muslim Personal Law Board.

The plea states that the CBI Court "acted illegally and with material irregularity in holding that the accused persons were not involved in the Commission of Crime and their involvement could not be proved from the evidence on record."

The demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992 dominated the political narrative for decades, and in the words of the Supreme Court, shook the the secular fabric of the Constitution of India.

However, after three decades, the Special CBI Judge acquitted all the persons accused of conspiring in the demolition on the ground that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) failed to produce any conclusive evidence to prove any connivance that led to the destruction of the mosque.

The trial was conducted for the alleged commission of offences under Sections 147 (Rioting), 153-A (Promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion), 153-B (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) 295 (Injuring or defiling place of worship) 295-A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class), and 505 (Statements conducing to public mischief) IPC read with Sections 149 (Unlawful assembly) and 120B (Criminal conspiracy) IPC.

The Court held that there was nothing on record to establish the existence of a conspiracy to demolish the Babri Masjid.

The appeal states that the common intention of all the acquitted individuals to demolish the Mosque "stood proved by the testimony of a large number of witnesses."

"Learned C.B.I. Judge has failed to appreciate that the basic ingredient of this section is a common object. Object means the purpose, and it will be common when the members of the unlawful assembly share it. All or a few members of the assembly may form a common object at any stage. The explanation of this section shows it clearly. However, common object is entertained in the human mind so that there can be no evidence to prove directly about this", the plea states.

In its judgment running into more than 2,000 pages and written in Hindi, the Special Court observed that there was no documentary evidence to show that there was conspiracy or provocation to bring down the disputed structure.

With regard to the newspaper clippings related to the dismantling of the disputed structure presented by CBI, the Court opined that the same was not acceptable as evidence, as their original copies were not produced.

The CBI's reliance on photographs from the demolished site was also dismissed, as the negatives of the same were not submitted before the Court.

Apart from the news reports and photographs, the Court also considered the video tapes shown by the investigating agency. It, however, refused to rely on the same, on the grounds that the video cassettes were not in sealed envelopes and that the footage was not clear.

While the State government had made all safety arrangements and efforts were made by the leaders, the structure at Babri Masjid was demolished by a mob, the Court noted in its order.

The Court opined that the accused persons had no knowledge or premonition that a mob of rowdy kar sevaks would demolish the structure.

[Read Petition]

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