[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE Supreme Court today ordered Special CBI Judge S K Yadav to deliver within nine months his judgment in the criminal case pertaining to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in which senior leaders from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), namely, L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh stand accused.
Hearing an application filed by special judge Yadav, seeking extension in his tenure as he is slated to retire on September 30, 2019, a two-judge bench comprising Justices Rohinton F Nariman and Surya Kant directed that the judge’s tenure be extended till March 2020. The trial court judge had sought a six-month extension in his tenure to complete the trial.
In addition, the apex court also directed that the recording of evidence in the case be completed within six months.
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.
Kalyan Singh, who is the Governor of Rajasthan, enjoys immunity from prosecution under Article 361 of the Constitution. The Supreme Court had ordered the sessions court to frame charges and move against him as soon as he ceased to be Governor.