Babri Masjid demolition case: Supreme Court directs trial court to conclude hearing in 9 months

File photo of the 16th century Babri Masjid. Photograph:( PTI )

WION New Delhi Jul 19, 2019, 12.23 PM (IST) Written By: Jessica Taneja

Supreme Court has directed the trial court judge hearing the Babri Masjid demolition case against senior BJP Leaders LK Advani, Murali Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti to conclude the hearing in nine months.

Earlier, apex court had given a term extension to the trial court judge hearing the case, now the court has allowed him to continue beyond his retirement to conclude the trial and deliver judgment.

However, The Uttar Pradesh government told the top court that the state government rules did not permit giving an extension to a judicial officer. This prompted the court to use its wide power under Article 142 to order extension for the judge citing public interest. 

UP government will pass necessary orders within four weeks in consultation with the Allahabad High Court. Subsequently, the chief secretary shall inform compliance of the court's direction by filing an affidavit after four weeks.

On April 19, 2017, the top court had ordered a day-to-day trial to be concluded in two years in the politically sensitive case.

While dubbing the demolition of the medieval era monument as a "crime" which shook the "secular fabric of the Constitution", it had allowed the CBI's plea on restoration of criminal conspiracy charge against the VVIP accused.

The court had also said that if the trial was adjourned, then it should be fixed on the next day or a closely proximate date and the reasons for it shall be recorded in writing.

CBI shall ensure that on every date fixed for recording of evidence, some prosecution witnesses must remain present so that for want of witnesses the matter is not adjourned, it had said.

The court had termed the Allahabad High Court's February 12, 2001 verdict dropping conspiracy charge against Advani and others "erroneous".