THE Supreme Court on Friday extended the time to conclude the trial and pronounce judgment latest by August 31, 2020 in the Babri Masjid demolition case in which senior leaders from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at Centre, namely, L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh stand accused.
The court was considering a letter written by the Special Judge, CBI, to the apex court informing that recording of evidence in the matter was yet to be completed.
On July 19, 2019, the apex court had directed the Special judge CBI to deliver within nine months his judgment in the criminal case pertaining to the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
A two-judge bench of the SC comprising Justices Rohinton F Nariman and Surya Kant noted:
“Despite nine months having expired from the aforesaid date, we still find, on a perusal of the letter dated May 6, 2020, written by Shri Yadav, learned Special Judge that even the evidence is not yet completed…”
It added, “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..”.
The bench further said, “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”.
Taking the letter dated May 6, 2020, of the Special Judge into consideration, the apex court extended the period to complete evidence and deliver judgment till August 31, 2020.
“We are cognizant of the fact that Shri Yadav is making all efforts in order that the trial reach a just conclusion. However, given the original time frame and the extended time frame, the effort must now be to complete the proceedings and deliver judgment latest by August 31, 2020”, the SC ordered.
On April 19, 2017, the apex court by invoking its inherent powers under Article 142 of the Constitution of India had directed the sessions court to complete the trial and deliver its judgment within a period of two years. The court had also transferred the trial pending in the Court of the Special Judicial Magistrate at Rae Bareilly to the Court of Additional Sessions Judge (Ayodhya Matters) at Lucknow to be heard together.
Read the Order here: