New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday extended the deadline for Special CBI Court, Lucknow to deliver judgment in the criminal case regarding the demolition of Babri Masjid till August 31, 2020.
A bench comprising Justices R F Nariman and Surya Kant stated that the trial judge should ensure that the present deadline “is no longer breached”.
On July 19, 2019, the same bench had directed the Trial Court to complete the recording of evidence within six months and deliver judgment within nine months. The Court had also directed the UP Government to issue administrative orders to extend the tenure of the Special Judge of CBI Court, Lucknow, who is holding the trial, till the delivery of judgment. The judge was otherwise due to retire on September 30, 2019.
On May 6, the trial judge, Sri Yadav, wrote to the SC seeking an extension of time stating that even recording of evidence has not been completed.
The top court observed that the trial judge should use video conferencing facilities to complete the proceedings.
“We may indicate that video conferencing facilities are available and should be used by Shri Yadav in order to complete all evidence as well as applications that may be filed in that behalf. It is up to Shri Yadav to control the proceedings in accordance with the law so that inordinate delay that is beyond the time frame that we now give, is no longer breached”, stated the order.
BJP veterans L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharati and 13 others are facing trial on charges of criminal conspiracy behind the demolition of Babri Masjid in December 1992.
On April 19, 2017, the Supreme Court bench of Justices P C Ghose and R F Nariman had restored the conspiracy charges against the accused by allowing an appeal filed by the CBI against the discharge given by the Allahabad High Court to the accused.
Invoking its extraordinary constitutional powers under Article 142 of the Constitution, the bench also transferred the pending separate trial in a Rae Bareilly Magistrate court and clubbed it with criminal proceedings in the Lucknow CBI Court.
The top court had further ordered day-to-day trial to be concluded in two years in the case.