New Delhi, May 9: The Supreme Court on Friday directed a CBI court trying senior BJP leaders for the Babri Masjid demolition to deliver the judgment by August 31, 2020.

Prominent BJP and Sangh Parivar leaders like L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti are accused of criminal conspiracy leading to the demolition of the 16th century Babri mosque by kar sevaks in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.

A Bench led by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman took cognisance of a letter from CBI judge S.K. Yadav through videoconferencing, and said, “We are cognisant 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 Hindu reported.

The Bench said Mr. Yadav should take advantage of videoconferencing to complete the evidence in the trial and wind up the case within the slotted time.

In July last year, the Supreme court had asked the Uttar Pradesh government to give an extension of the tenure to Judge Yadav, who was scheduled to retire on September 30, so that he could complete the trial in the over 25-year-old cases. The top court had also extended the two-year deadline given to the trial judge. 

In 2017, the top court had invoked the maxim, ‘Let justice be done though the heavens fall,’ to flex its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to bring the cases to justice.

The Supreme court had transferred the Rae Bareilly case, languishing in a Magistrate court, to the CBI Court in Lucknow for a joint trial. It had ordered the Lucknow CBI Judge to hold day-to-day trial and pronounce the judgment in two years. It had forbade the transfer of the judge and also adjournments. Any grievances, the Bench had said, should be addressed to the Supreme Court. Its directions had to be complied with in letter and spirit, the court cautioned. The Rae Bareilly case accuses the BJP and Sangh Parivar leaders of having given speeches that promoted enmity and threatened the nation’s integrity. 

The Lucknow case, investigated by the CBI, is against “lakhs of unknown kar sevaks” and deals with the actual act of demolition and violence. With the clubbing of the cases and revival of the conspiracy charge, the accused leaders would be tried under the composite chargesheet filed by the CBI on October 5, 1993.

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