AGENCY
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday extended by three months the time for completion of trial in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case involving BJP veterans L K Advani, M M Joshi and Uma Bharti and said that judgement should be delivered by August 31.
The top court asked special judge S K Yadav to control the proceedings in accordance with law so that inordinate delay that is beyond the time-frame is no longer breached.
It indicated to the special judge to avail the facilities of video conferencing to complete recording of evidences and hearing of applications that are filed during the course of trial proceedings. A bench of Justices R F Nariman and Surya Kant, hearing the matter through video conferencing, passed the orders on receiving a letter from the special judge seeking extension of time granted to him for completing the trial in the politically sensitive case.
Having taken the letter dated May 6, 2020, into consideration, we extend 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 reaches 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 bench said in its order.
On July 19 last year the top court had asked the special judge to deliver the verdict within nine months, which was to end this April. The bench on Friday said that despite nine months having expired from the aforesaid date (July 19), we still find, on a perusal of the letter dated May 6, 2020, written by Yadav, Special Judge that even the evidence is not yet completed.
It said, 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. It is up to Shri Yadav to control the proceedings in accordance with law so that inordinate delay that is beyond the time frame that we now give is no longer breached .
The top court had on July 19 last year also extended the tenure of the special judge at Lucknow till the completion of the trial and the delivery of verdict in the case.
Besides Advani, Joshi and Uma Bharti, the accused against whom conspiracy charge was invoked in the case by the Supreme Court on April 19, 2017, include former Rajasthan governor Kalyan Singh, 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.
Kalyan Singh, during whose tenure as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh the disputed structure was razed, was put on trial in September last year after his tenure as Governor came to an end.