File image of the Supreme Court of India | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
File image of the Supreme Court of India | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday extended the deadline for the special CBI court, Lucknow, to decide the criminal case on the demolition of Babri Masjid, involving BJP veterans L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti.

The bench comprising Justices R.F. Nariman and Surya Kant ordered special judge S.K. Yadav to complete the trial and deliver the judgment in the case by 31 August. 

The bench also suggested that the judge can use video conferencing facility to complete the proceedings. 

“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,” the court observed. 

“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,” it added. 

In April 2017, the Supreme Court had given the judge two years to complete the trial after it revived criminal conspiracy charges against Advani, Joshi and Bharti in the case.

Also read: Babri Masjid demolition trial is a textbook example of how delayed justice can be

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Judgment was to come last month

On 19 June 2019, the two-year time limit was extended by another 9 months.

The apex court had directed the trial court concerned to complete the recording of evidence within six months and deliver the judgment within nine months. Accordingly, the judgment was expected to be pronounced last month.

But judge Yadav wrote to the apex court on 6 May, informing the bench that despite this period having expired, even the recording of evidence has not been completed yet. 

Taking note of this, the apex court’s Friday order said, “We are cognizant of the fact that Shri Yadav is making all efforts in order that the trial reach 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 31st August, 2020.”

Also read: What the last imam of Babri Masjid told me a few months before the demolition


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