The Supreme Court on Saturday has set a new deadline of September 30 for a CBI court to deliver its verdict in the Babri Masjid demolition case, in which senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Murali Manohar Joshi, and Uma Bharti face criminal charges as accused.
A bench headed by Justice Rohinton F Nariman extended the previous deadline upon a request by special Ayodhya judge, who had submitted a progress report along with an application to give him some more time to wrap up the trial.
The bench in its order on August 19 said, “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 last order in this regard had come in May when the bench had directed the CBI court to deliver the judgment by August 31, 2020 after taking note of a similar request by the special judge.
The bench had said the judge should take advantage of video-conferencing to complete the evidence in the trial and wind up the case within the slotted time.
The apex court has been issuing directives to ensure the trial is concluded within a stipulated time frame.
In April 2017, the court had described the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya as “crimes which shake the secular fabric of the Constitution of India”, as it put Advani and others on a joint trial with ‘kar sevaks’ in the 1992 case under various charges, including criminal conspiracy to pull down the disputed structure. It gave the CBI court in Lucknow two years to deliver its judgment.