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The nine-month deadline set out in July 2019 was extended till August 31 of this year. The Special CBI Judge has been given an extension of another month by the Supreme Court now.
The Supreme Court earlier this week extended the deadline for completion of trial in the Babri Masjid demolition case, including the pronouncement of judgment, till September 30.
The case against senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Murali Manohar Joshi, and Uma Bharti was directed to be concluded by August 31 as per the order passed by the Supreme Court in May this year.
This upper limit of August 31, which was itself an extension, has now been pushed by a month, giving the Special CBI Judge Surendra Kumar Yadav time till September 30 to conclude the trial as well as the pronouncement of judgment.
The order passed to this effect on August 19 by the Bench of Justices Rohinton Nariman, Navin Sinha, and Indira Banerjee reads as:
In the Supreme Court's July 2019 order, the Court had set a time frame within which the trial in the Babri Masjid demolition case was to be completed. The Court had said, on July 19 last year, that the judgment in the case ought to be delivered in nine months.
Earlier this year, in his letter dated May 6, Judge Yadav had informed the Supreme Court that the trial was at the evidence stage and the same was yet to be concluded. The Supreme Court had then taken this letter on record and in view of the prevalent circumstances at the time, extended the timeframe for completion of trial till August 31.
The Court had also said that video conferencing facilities are available and the same must be used by Judge Yadav to ensure that further inordinate delay in the case does not take place.
The Court was now informed that the case has reached its fag end owing to which the deadline came to be pushed further by a month.
Special Judge Yadav who has been hearing the criminal case against BJP leaders LK Advani, Uma Bharti, and Kalyan Singh was scheduled to superannuate during the pendency of the trial, in September 2019. After informing the Court that substantial progress was made in the trial, the Supreme Court had in July last year directed the State of Uttar Pradesh to pass necessary orders in consultation with the High Court to extend his tenure.
In April 2017, the Supreme Court had allowed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to frame charges against eight BJP leaders including LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti for criminal conspiracy in the Babri Masjid Demolition case. The Court had directed that the trial should conclude within two years, and had also ordered that the judge hearing the case to not be transferred.