The Supreme Court also agreed to extend the tenure of the trial court judge hearing the case in Lucknow.
NEW DELHI: A judgement in the Babri Masjid demolition case against senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and others should be delivered within nine months, the Supreme Court said on Friday, agreeing to extend the tenure of the trial court judge hearing it.
The judge who is hearing the case in Lucknow had made substantial progress therefore an extension for delivering the judgement had merit, a Supreme Court bench led by Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman said.
The Uttar Pradesh government had told the Supreme Court that the tenure of the trial court judge should be extended since he was scheduled to retire on September 30.
Agreeing to do so, the Supreme Court said that that the trial should be completed in six months and, based on it, a judgement should be delivered in the next three months.
It directed the Uttar Pradesh government to pass appropriate orders within four weeks to extend the tenure of the judge. During the extended tenure, he will remain under the administrative control of the Allahabad High Court, the top court said.
Besides LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti, the accused against whom conspiracy charge was invoked in the case on April 19, 2017, by the Supreme Court include former BJP lawmaker Vinay Katiar and Sadhvi Ritambara.
Three other high-profile accused Giriraj Kishore, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal and Vishnu Hari Dalmia have died during trial.
The top court had strongly rebuked the Central Bureau of Investigation for a delay of 25 years in the trial and ordered a day-to-day hearing and asked for the case to be concluded in two years.
“The accused persons have not been brought to book largely because of the conduct of the CBI in not pursuing the prosecution of the aforesaid alleged offenders in a joint trial, and because of technical defects which were easily curable, but which were not cured by the State Government,” it said.
Constructed by the Mughals, the 16th century Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya was demolished by Hindu “kar sevaks” or activists in 1992 following a nationwide movement led by Mr Advani and others for a temple at the site where the mosque was. Many Hindus believe that the mosque was built over the birthplace of Lord Ram; they want a temple to be built there.
The razing of the Babri Masjid incited nationwide riots between Hindus and Muslims; around 2,000 people were killed.