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Top BJP Leaders Exempted From Personal Appearance In Babri Case 

Counsel cited old age of Advani and Joshi, extensive travel by Bharti as reasons for inability to appear daily.

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Uma Bharti, LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were exempted from making personal appearance for day-to-day trial. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)

A special CBI court, investigating the Babri Masjid case on Wednesday, granted exemption to top BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, and Union Minister Uma Bharti from personal appearance in day-to-day trial in the case.

The special court on 30 May framed charges against 12 people, including the BJP leaders for allegedly playing a role in the demolition.

While their previous pleas for discharge from the offence were rejected by the court, the leaders were granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 each. The CBI, however, had rejected their bail applications.

The counsel for the BJP leaders had cited old age of Advani and Joshi, and extensive travel by Bharti as reasons for their inability to appear before the court daily during the trial.

They had been granted a similar relief during the trial proceedings in the case in Raebareli.

The Supreme Court had on 19 April transferred to Lucknow the Raebareli case for a joint trial in the two cases relating to the demolition.

The SC had on 19 April also directed that the trial in the demolition case be completed within two years. It had ordered the restoration of the conspiracy charge against the three leaders.

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The 16th-century disputed structure in Ayodhya was pulled down on 6 December 1992.

The accused are also facing charges of having made assertions "prejudicial to national integration and injuring or defiling a place of worship".

The other charges against them include indulging in “deliberate and malicious” acts intending to outrage religious feelings, uttering statements leading to public mischief, rioting and unlawful assembly.

The maximum punishment which could be awarded to Advani and others upon conviction in the matter, could be up to five years imprisonment or fine or both, according to a lawyer.

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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