Justice V. Gopala Gowda on Thursday reportedly recused himself from hearing the appeals concerning the quashing of criminal conspiracy charge against Mr. L.K. Advani, Mr. Murli Manohar Joshi, Ms. Uma Bharti and several other BJP- VHP leaders in the Babri Masjid demolition case. Justice Gowda was heading the Bench, which also comprised of Justice Arun Mishra.
The appeals have been filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation and Haji Mahboob Ahmad against the dropping of charges. Mr. Mehboob claims locus standi in the case not only because he was one of the petitioners in the title suit in the Ayodhya land dispute case, but also because he is a witness in the case at Rae Bareli.
The Appeals challenge a judgment of the Allahabad High Court, wherein it had discharged Mr. Advani and other senior leaders of BJP and Hindu outfits from the charges of criminal conspiracy in the demolition of Babri Masjid. The Court, while dropping the criminal conspiracy charge, had permitted CBI to proceed with other charges against Mr. Advani and others in a Rae Bareily Court.Mr. Advani and several other leaders were present on the dias at Ram Katha Kunj in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992, when Babri Masjid was demolished. These leaders were charge sheeted by the CBI 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. Charges of criminal conspiracy were invoked subsequently, and later quashed by the Special Court.