Supreme Court extends the deadline for the delivery of judgement in Babri Masjid Demolition case

    Earlier in the week, the Supreme Court extended the deadline till September 30, for completion of trial and delivery of judgement in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case. As per the order passed by the Supreme Court in May 2020, the case was directed to be concluded by August 31 but the Bench which included Justices Rohinton Nariman, Navin Sinha, and Indira Banerjee came to a decision to extend the time given to Special CBI Judge, Surendra Kumar Yadav, to pronounce the verdict. This case has senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Murali Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh facing criminal charges.

    In a letter written by the Special Judge on May 6, the apex court was informed of the status of the trial, which included the incomplete recording of evidence, thereby deciding to extend the deadline by a month, also keeping in mind prevalent circumstances at the time.

    “Having read the report of Mr. Surendra Kumar Yadav, learned Special Judge, and considering that the proceedings are at the fag end, we grant one month’s time, i.e., till 30th September, 2020, to complete the proceedings including delivery of judgment.”

    The Court had also recommended that since the usage of the video conferencing facilities are available, the same must be done by Judge Yadav to prevent any further unwarranted and inordinate delay in the case. The Supreme Court on July 19 last year, set a time frame within which the trial in the Babri Masjid demolition case was to be completed, which was in the next nine months.

    Special Judge Yadav who has been hearing the criminal case was scheduled to retire during the pendency of the trial, in September 2019. When the Court informed the substantial progress was made in the trial, the Supreme Court had in July last year directed the State of Uttar Pradesh to pass necessary orders in consultation with the High Court to extend his tenure.

    The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had bought charges against eight BJP leaders including LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti for criminal conspiracy in the Babri Masjid Demolition case, in April 2017. The Supreme Court bench of Justices PC Ghose and RF Nariman allowed the appeal filed by the CBI. The top court had directed that the trial should conclude within two years and had also ordered that the judge hearing the case to not be transferred.