Babri Masjid Demolition: Supreme Court Sets Deadline For CBI Court To Pronounce Verdict

In a major development, the Supreme Court on May 8, 2020, directed the CBI Court in Lucknow to conduct the proceedings of the decades-old Babri Masjid demolition case. In May 2017, the special CBI court charged BJP leaders L.K Advani, Union Minister Uma Bharti and others; with criminal conspiracy in the Babri Masjid demolition case. The apex court stated that the trial and the verdict in the case must be delivered by August 31, 2020. Meanwhile, in the Ram Janmabhoomi- Babri Masjid land dispute, the Supreme Court gave a unanimous verdict on November 9, 2019.

The framing of charges against senior BJP leader Kalyan Singh caused the delay in the examination of the eye-witnesses. Because Kalyan enjoyed immunity as the Governor of Rajasthan. Singh had been the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh when a mob demolished the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992. The Supreme Court bench stated that the trial judge should ensure that the present deadline is not breached. The bench comprised of Justices R F Nariman and Surya Kant.

On July 19, 2019, the same bench directed the Trial Court to complete the recording of evidence within six months; and deliver the judgment within nine months. The Court had also directed the UP Government to issue administrative orders. In order to extend the tenure of the Special Judge of CBI Court, Lucknow, who is holding the trial, till the delivery of judgment. However, On May 6, the trial judge, Sri Yadav, wrote to the SC seeking an extension of time. He stated that even recording of evidence has not been completed. In its latest direction, the Apex Court observed that the trial judge should use video conferencing facilities to complete the proceedings.