To delay the final hearing on the role of the top BJP stalwarts in the conspiracy behind the Babri Mosque demolition in Ayodhya in 1992, the Yogi Adityanath government has refused the video conference instrument sought by special judge Surendra Kumar Yadav as per the Suprme Court’s directive onMay 8 to decide the case by August-end.
BJP patriarch LK Advani, former Union ministers Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharati and former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh are among the 32 accused to be examined after completion of cross-examination of three witnesses on Friday. Judge Yadav is on extension beyond his retirement last September 30 as the SC wants him to decide the case instead of new judge conducting the hearing de novo. He had sought the video conference facility from the UP government on May 14. He has now directed the CBI to produce its three witnesses in person since the video-conferencing is not possible, fixing appearance of Madhurima Misra on May 20, Farhad Abbas on May 21 and Jagat Bahadur on May 22.
The Judge has also informed the Supreme Court that he had asked both the chief secretary (administration) and chief secretary (justice) for the equipment to conduct the proceedings through video-conferencing inthe wake of COVID-19 pandemic, buthe gotno response and he cannot afford to delay the case on this ground.
Worry of the judge is that his court is located in the Kaiserbagh area of Lucknow, which has been declared a COVID-19 hotspot and so he has also written to the UP government to provide other premises for the courtin the COVID-free area as otherwise the accused will take the alibi of not turning up for questioning because of the dreaded disease’s spread in the area where the court is located.