Two Ayodhya legal battles at a crucial stage in CBI special court in Lucknow
The Ayodhya demolition case is dragging on in the CBI special court for the past 25 years and the Ram Janmabhoomi -Babri Masjid title dispute is being contested in the apex court where hearings are being held regularly after mediation efforts failed.Updated: Sep 03, 2019 11:04 IST
Two legal battles related with Ayodhya, one in the Supreme Court and another in the CBI special court (Ayodhya) in Lucknow, are in a crucial stage.
The Ayodhya demolition case is dragging on in the CBI special court for the past 25 years and the Ram Janmabhoomi -Babri Masjid title dispute is being contested in the apex court where hearings are being held regularly after mediation efforts failed.
SK Yadav, special CBI Judge (Ayodhya), has to complete trial in Babri Masjid demolition case in the next six months and deliver the judgment within a period of nine months, which includes three months for writing the order. Yadav is also district judge, Lucknow.
When the trial began in the demolition case, around 894 witnesses of the CBI were supposed to depose before the court. But more than half of them went missing. The investigation was carried out by 35 assistant investigating officers and one main investigating officer. As many as 280 witnesses have appeared before the special CBI court in Lucknow.
In April 2017, the Supreme Court transferred the proceedings from a special court in Rae Bareli to the special CBI court in Lucknow. Fifty-seven witnesses had deposed before the court in Rae Bareli and their trial is over.
There were around 49 undertrials. During course of the trial, 17 of them died.
“All public witnesses have appeared before the court. Now, 36 investigating officers are appearing before the court,” said lawyer KK Mishra, who is defending senior BJP leaders in court.
Day-to-day hearing of the case is going on, Mishra added.
Another defence lawyer in the Ayodhya case, Mayankeshwar Tripathi said: “Conducting the trial of many witnesses and investigating officers is no ordinary task.”
CBI lawyers Lalit Singh and RK Yadav are representing the case.
At a glance
The Supreme Court on July 19 extended by six months the time frame for completing the criminal trial in the Ayodhya demolition case and also set a deadline of nine months for the final order in the case.
Allowing the special CBI judge to complete the trial within ‘six months from today’, the top court bench headed by Justice RF Nariman said the judgment should be ‘ready and delivered maximum within a period of nine months from today’.
The top court also directed the Uttar Pradesh government to extend the tenure of the special judge SK Yadav, who will retire on September 30, for the purpose of trial only.
While Rajasthan governor Kalyan Singh was exempted from trial by virtue of holding gubernatorial post, his immunity will end once he demits office.
Prominent persons who have appeared before court
BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Vinay Katiyar, Uma Bharti, BJP MPs Lallu Singh, Sakshi Maharaj, Brij Bhushan Saran Singh, former Shiv Sena MLA Pawan Pandey, Sadhvi Ritambhara, VHP leader Champat Rai and Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, who is head of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas and Ram Vilas Vedanti, among others.