The Supreme Court Friday extended the deadline for a special CBI court in Lucknow till August 31, 2020 to deliver the verdict in the Babri Masjid demolition case, in which senior leaders of the BJP and VHP are accused.
A bench comprising Justices R F Nariman and Surya Kant observed that the trial court judge should use video conferencing facilities to complete the proceedings. The apex court said that the trial judge should ensure that the present deadline is “no longer breached”, Live Law reported.
— Ananthakrishnan G (@axidentaljourno) May 8, 2020
Among the 32 people facing trial in the case are veteran BJP leaders Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalyan Singh and former Union minister Uma Bharti, and sitting MPs Brij Bhushan Singh and Sakshi Maharaj.
After the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, two cases were filed in Ayodhya — one related to the conspiracy of demolishing of Babri Masjid and another for instigating the crowd to demolish the structure. Around 47 more cases were lodged then that were merged with the case of demolition.
The trial in the two cases was held separately. The one in Lucknow court on charges of conspiracy of the demolition of the structure, and the other in Rae Bareli court for instigating the crowd to demolish the structure.
Of the 22 persons, who were facing trial in the Lucknow court, one has died. The prominent persons among the remaining 21 accused are Pawan Pandey, Brij Bhushan Singh, R N Srivastava, Lallu Singh and Sakshi Maharaj. R N Srivastava was then District Magistrate of Faizabad.
In Rae Bareli court, six were facing trial after the death of two accused — Acharya Giriraj Kishore and Ashok Singhal. VHP leader VH Dalmia, an accused in the Rae Bareli case, died last year, following which five accused were left that include Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Vinay Katiyar, Ritambhara and Uma Bharti.
On April 19, 2017, the Supreme Court ordered the clubbing of the two pending cases and set up a Special Court (Ayodhya Prakaran) in Lucknow to conclude the hearing. The top court had also ordered the restoration of charges against 13 accused, who were dropped from the case by the High Court earlier. Seven of the total 13 accused have died, including BJP leader and former MP Baikunth Lal Sharma. Six persons who are now facing trial are Ram Vilas Vedanti, Champat Rai, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, Mahant Dharam Das, Satish Pradhan and the then UP CM Kalyan Singh. The Supreme Court also ordered adding of criminal conspiracy charge (IPC Section 120B) against the accused facing trial in Rae Bareli.
Meanwhile, Kalyan Singh, who had immunity as the Governor of Rajasthan, appeared before the special trial court in September last year after his term ended. He is currently on bail.