Decide Babri Masjid case against LK Advani, others by August 31: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Friday further extended to August 31 the deadline for the Lucknow special court to deliver judgment in the criminal conspiracy case of the Babri Mosque demolition in Ayodhya in 1992 filed by the CBI against high profile veterans like former deputy PM LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharati and then Uttar Pradesh CM Kalyan Singh.

Judge Surendra Kumar Yadav, who was to retire on September 30 last, was given extension of his tenure by the apex court on July 19 last year to avoid the hearing de novo, apropos its decision in April 2017 the conspiracy charges should be decided by the same judge by holding a day-to-day hearing and conclude it in two years.

A Bench of Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and Surya Kant, which had given extension to the judge to complete the hearing within six months and deliver the judgment within nine months, noted what to say of the judgment, even the evidence is not completed as perused from Judge Yadav’s May 6 letter.

The SC had reversed the Allahabad HC verdict in February 2001 dropping the conspiracy charges against Advani and others as “erroneous” and allowed the CBI’s plea for restoration of the conspiracy charges against the BJP’s VVIP accused, stressing the demolition of the medieval era monument was clearly a crime that shook the “secular fabric of the Constitution” and the conspirators cannot be allowed to go free.

It ordered Yadav to use the video conferencing facilities to complete all evidence as well as applications that may be filed. In a 2-page order, the court said: “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.”

Taking on record Yadav’s letter, it extended the period till August 31 to complete evidence and deliver the judgment.

Construction resumes at Ayodhya Ram temple site

With the Yogi Adityanath government allowing construction activity to resume during the lockdown, work on clearing up the site of Ram temple construction in Ayodhya has also started again. The metal barricades erected around the make­shift temple and the CRPF camp at the site were removed on Thursday and levelling of the site has begun.

A local team of PWD officials is working in coordination with engineers of Lar­sen & Toubro that will be supervising the temple constr­uction. L&T will be working on a no-profit, no-loss basis on the temple construction.

Champat Rai, secretary of the Shri Ram Teerth Kshetra Trust that is overseeing temple construction, said that work is being done in a phased manner. “The idol of Lord Ram has been shifted to its new abode and now we are getting the site for temple co­n­s­t­ruction cleared and clean­ed by removing barricades and leveling the ground. Soil testing will be done to test soil strength. The trust members are holding meetings through video calls and are remaining updated on the progress of work," he said, adding, the trust’s office in Ram Kutcheri temple would complete soon and the trust will start working from there once the lockdown is lifted.

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