Former Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh was on Friday put on trial by a special Central Bureau of Investigation court in Lucknow in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case after he appeared before it responding to its summons in the case.
Special Judge S K Yadav, already holding trial of various Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, including L K Advani, Murli Manhor Joshi and Uma Bharti for allegedly conspiring to demolish the mosque at the disputed Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya, however, granted bail to Singh, a former Uttar Pradesh chief minister too, and exempted him from personal appearance too in the case.
The court had earlier issued summons to Singh after his term as Rajasthan governor expired in the first week of this month, stripping him of the constitutional immunity from the trial in the case.
Singh, who was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh when the 16th-century structure was razed on December 6 in 1992, was first taken in judicial custody by the court after he appeared before it in response to the summons in the demolition case.
After taking the former governor in judicial custody, Special Judge Yadav framed charges against him on various counts of penal offences and put him on the trial as Singh pleaded "not guilty" and claimed trial.
The various alleged offences on which Singh was put on trial included promoting enmity on grounds of religion (section 153 A), making assertion prejudicial to national integration (S 153 B), defiling a place of worship (S 295) and criminal conspiracy (S 120 B) under the Indian Penal Code.
After framing charges against Singh, the court, however, granted him bail, responding to a plea by him for the relief.
Judge Yadav granted bail to Singh on a personal bond of Rs two lakh and freed him of the judicial custody.
When the court proceeded to fix the next date of hearing in the case, Singh's counsel filed another application, seeking exemption for him from personal appearance in the court during the trial.
The court granted relief Singh and exempted him from personal appearance till further orders.
Singh's other party colleagues, including Advani, Joshi and Bharti, too are on bail in the case and have been granted exemption from the personal appearance.
The three leaders have been facing trial in the case since May 25, 2017 when they first appeared before the court after the Supreme Court on April 17 that year struck down an Allahabad High Court's order, discharging them in the case.
While revoking the high court's Lucknow bench order on an appeal by the CBI, the apex court had allowed the agency to proceed against the leaders.
But with Kalyan Singh holding the post of Rajasthan governor at that time and enjoying constitutional immunity from prosecution in any criminal cases, the court had directed CBI to proceed against him after he ceases to be a governor.
As Kalyan Singh's term came to an end in the first week of September, the CBI moved the court for summoning him and putting him on trial in the mosque demolition case.