The Supreme Court Monday issued notice on a plea by Surendra Kumar Yadav, the CBI judge hearing the Babri Masjid demolition case, that his promotion has been stalled after the apex court’s order directing that the CBI judge should not be transferred till the trial is completed.
On April 19, 2017, the Supreme Court had revived conspiracy charges against top BJP leaders including L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi among others and transferred the pending case to a Magistrate Court in Rae Bareli.
“There shall be no de novo (fresh) trial. There shall be no transfer of the judge conducting the trial until the entire trial concludes. The case shall not be adjourned on any ground except when the sessions court finds it impossible to carry on the trial for that particular date,” the court had said.
In his plea to the Supreme Court, Yadav requested that he be allowed to file an application seeking cancellation of the notification that has stalled his promotion on transfer.
Yadav pointed out that on June 1, 2018, the Allahabad High Court had appointed him District and Sessions Judge, Badaun. The “order was of transfer on promotion”, he submitted.
However, on the same day, another notification was issued, “cancelling” the transfer on promotion until further orders on the ground that the Supreme Court had directed “there shall be no transfer of the judge conducting trial of Ayodhya matters”, his application said.
Yadav submitted that he had joined the judiciary as Munsif on June 8, 1990, and has an “unblemished career” of 28 years behind him. “However, despite utmost sincerity and honesty with which the applicant has worked, the applicant and family are embarrassed and humiliated in the twilight of his service,” the application said.
The Special Judge’s application submitted that the applicant was “approaching his superannuation and at the end of his career, while his batch-mates and juniors have been appointed as district judges, the applicant has been denied promotion and still working as Additional District and Sessions Judge/Special Judge (Ayodhya Prakran) at Lucknow causing serious prejudice to him”.
He contended that the “Supreme Court order cannot be used to deny him promotion and “thereby depriving him of an accrued right under service laws”.
“While continuity and speed in disposal of the matter are essential, this hon’ble court may please consider the irreparable injury being caused to the applicant on account of the denial of promotion,” his application said.
Yadav added that on July 17, he made a representation to the High Court Registrar General to place the matter before the Litigation Committee of the High Court so that it can be put up before the Supreme Court, but “no action has been taken on the representation till date”.
While the Supreme Court issued notice on Yadav’s plea, the bench of Justices R F Nariman and Indu Malhotra also sought a report in a sealed cover from Yadav, on how he planned to complete the trial within the two-year time set by the court.
Yadav in his plea also informed the apex court about the progress of the trial. He said that “pursuant to the Supreme Court’s order, charges were framed on May 30, 2017, and 256 of 895 witnesses examined. Before receiving the case file from Rae Bareli, 57 of 131 witnesses had been examined”.
“As on date, of a total 1,026 witnesses, 313 examined, 73 discharged, 81 not traceable and 88 dead. 473 yet to testify”, the application said adding he “has diligently conducted the trial to the best of his ability”.