Babri case: SC tells Spl judge to decide in 9 months

Babri case: SC tells Spl judge to decide in 9 months

(PTI File Photo)

The Supreme Court on Friday told the special judge, Lucknow, who conducted trial against BJP veterans L K Advani, M M Joshi and others in the Babri mosque demolition case to deliver the verdict within nine months.

A bench of Justices R F Nariman and Surya Kant said the recording of evidence in the case should be completed within six months.

The bench also directed the Uttar Pradesh government to pass appropriate orders within four weeks to extend the tenure of the special judge, who is set to retire on September 30.

During the hearing, the UP government said it was amenable to whatever orders the court wanted to pass on the extension of the tenure of the judge, who had sought another six months to complete the trial.

In accordance with the top court's previous order, the trial was to be concluded by April 2019.

The top court had on April 19, 2017 ordered that senior BJP leaders L K Advani, M M Joshi and Union minister Uma Bharti would face criminal conspiracy charge for their role in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case.

The case shook the secular fabric of the Constitution 25 years ago and the accused could not be tried for “technical defects” in view of the conduct of the CBI and the Uttar Pradesh government, the court said.

It had ordered that separate trials be conducted in trial courts at Rae Bareli and Lucknow to be clubbed and conducted in the capital of Uttar Pradesh only and directed it to be completed in two years by the holding the proceedings in a day-to-day manner.

Besides Advani and Joshi, former BJP MP Vinay Katiar, and former Minister Uma Bharati, Sadhvi Ritambara, and others faced the charges of criminal conspiracy in the case. Then UP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, however, could be spared in view of immunity granted to him for being Governor of Rajasthan.