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A united opposition on Wednesday trained guns on Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the Supreme Court restored conspiracy charges against Uma Bharti besides BJP veterans Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi in connection with the Babri Masjid demolition case and wondered whether the Union Water Resources Minister will be asked to step down.
Putting the ball in Prime Minister Modi's court, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D. Raja said the decision has to be finally made by the former whether Bharti would continue to be a part of the government.
"It is a directive verdict given by the apex court that those people, who have been accused and charged for their involvement in the demolition of the Babri Masjid have to face the charges. Uma Bharti has been one of the accused. She has to face the charges. So, in such a situation her continuance as minister becomes untenable," Raja told ANI.
"Uma Bharti is also a part of Prime Minister Modi's Cabinet. So, whether she would step down or Prime Minister Modi would ask her to step down is the biggest question which has to be answered by him," he added.
Meanwhile, the Congress Party also demanded Bharti's resignation while reminding Prime Minister Modi to act in accordance with 'his love for transparency and morality in politics'.
Former union minister and Congress leader Kapil Sibal equated the apex court's order with a film titled '20 saal baad'.
"At least after 25 years there is substantial step forward in the cause of justice. This shows that the majesty of the law has been upheld," the senior lawyer told ANI.
"Our Prime Minister is extremely committed to transparency and morality in politics. So, the Prime Minister should do what he has to do as sometimes he forgets morality and transparency on issues like this," demanded Sibal.
Another Congress leader Randeep Surjewala expressed hope that the apex court's verdict would be implemented in toto without any fear and favour.
"Rule of law, Constitution prevails in India. The beauty of India is the Constitution of law is above you whatever may be your state, caste, culture and religion. The Supreme Court has finally spoken. We believe justice should be done would be done," Surjewala told ANI.
Earlier in the day, the apex court allowed the CBI's appeal in the Babri Masjid demolition case and restored criminal conspiracy charges against the above mentioned BJP veterans including Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh.
However, Kalyan Singh, who was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1992, enjoys constitutional immunity as the Rajasthan Governor and can be tried only after he leaves office.
The apex court ordered that two separate cases in Lucknow and Raebareli against Advani, Joshi and Bharti and unknown 'kar sevaks' shall be brought together in one trial.
The Supreme Court also directed the trial court in Lucknow to commence the proceedings in four weeks and hear the matter on a day-to-day basis so as to complete the hearing in two years. The apex court also said there will be no 'de novo' (fresh) trial.
The CBI has been ordered to ensure that at least one prosecution witness appears in the trial court for recording of testimony.
To ensure speedy trial, the top court has given two important directions - first, no party shall be granted adjournments without the sessions judge being satisfied of the reasons for it; second, the trial judge hearing the case shall not be transferred till the judgement is delivered.
The Supreme Court also said that its order should be followed in letter and spirit. If the parties involved feel that the top court's order is not being followed in letter and spirit then they will be having the liberty to approach the apex court.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)