Babri demolition case: Tenure of special judge extended

Babri demolition case: Tenure of special judge extended

Supreme Court of India. (Reuters Photo)

The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday told the Supreme Court that it has complied with its direction and extended the tenure of the special judge, who is conducting the trial in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case involving BJP veterans L K Advani, M M Joshi and Uma Bharti.

A bench of justices R F Nariman and Surya Kant perused the affidavit and office memo placed before it by the chief secretary of Uttar Pradesh.

Senior advocate Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for Uttar Pradesh, told the bench that they have complied with the top court's direction and extended the tenure of the special judge till he delivers the judgment in the Ayodhya demolition case.

"We are satisfied that the needful has been done," the bench said while disposing of the matter.

The top court had on August 23 asked the Uttar Pradesh government to look into the requests made by Special Judge, Surendra Kumar Yadav, in his letter to the apex court considering the enormity of the work done by him.

The apex court had on July 19 extended the special judge's tenure till the completion of trial and delivery of the verdict in the case.

The top court had said that the extension of tenure of the special judge, who is set to retire on September 30, will only be for the purpose of concluding the trial and delivering the verdict in the case.

He was also asked by the top court to deliver the verdict within nine months.

Besides Advani, Joshi, and Bharti, the accused against whom conspiracy charge was invoked in the case by the Supreme Court on April 19, 2017, including former BJP MP Vinay Katiar and Sadhvi Ritambara.

Three other high-profile accused Giriraj Kishore, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal and Vishnu Hari Dalmia died during trial and the proceedings against them have been abated.

The top court had held that Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh, during whose tenure as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh the disputed structure was razed, was entitled to immunity under the Constitution as long as he remains in a gubernatorial position.

On April 19, 2017, the apex court had ordered a day-to-day trial to be concluded in two years in the Babri Masjid demolition case.

While dubbing the demolition of the medieval era monument as a "crime" which shook the "secular fabric of the Constitution", it had allowed the CBI's plea on restoration of criminal conspiracy charge against the VVIP accused.

The court had termed the Allahabad High Court's February 12, 2001 verdict dropping conspiracy charge against Advani and others as "erroneous".

Before the 2017 verdict of the apex court, there were two sets of cases relating to the demolition of the disputed structure on December 6, 1992, going on at Lucknow and Raebareli.

The trial of first case involving unnamed 'karsevaks' was going on in a Lucknow court, while the second set of cases relating to the eight VVIPs were going on in a Raebareli court. 

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