Babri Masjid demolition case: Verdict likely on September 30

The case is separate from the Ayodhya land dispute case, and is being heard by a special CBI court in Lucknow

babri demolition

Judgment in the long-drawn Babri Masjid demolition case is likely to be pronounced on September 30, 2020. This case is distinct from the Ayodhya land dispute that was a civil suit. The Babri Masjid demolition case is a criminal case related to the conspiracy behind the demolition.

Several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) heavyweights have been named as accused in the case. These include, LK Advani, MM Joshi, Uma Bharati and former UP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh.

The case that is being heard by a Special CBI Court in Lucknow, has had a tortuous journey with conspiracy charges having been dropped earlier. However, in April 2017, the Supreme Court restored the conspiracy charges when it allowed an appeal by the CBI against a discharge given by the Allahabad High Court.

The SC bench comprising Justices PC Ghose and RF Nariman also exercised extraordinary powers granted under Article 142 of the Constitution to the pending separate trial in Rae Bareilly Magistrate’s Court, clubbing it with criminal proceedings in the CBI court in Lucknow. The case in Lucknow court was on charges of conspiracy to demolish the mosque, and the other in Rae Bareli court was for instigating the crowd to raze the structure.

Moreover, at that time the SC had ordered that day-to-day proceedings be carried out and the trial be completed in two days. Subsequently the SC also directed the UP government to issue necessary orders to extend the tenure of the presiding judge who was all set to retire on September 30, 2019. Further extension of the deadline for finishing the trial was granted on May 8.

LK Advani’s statement was recorded via video-conferencing in July this year. This is significant given how it was Advani’s Rath Yatras that had helped build support for the Ram Temple movement in the 90s, sowing the seeds for othering and alienation of minorities.

At the time of delivering the verdict in the civil suit pertaining to the Ayodhya land dispute, the SC had observed that the destruction of the Babri Masjid was a violation of the law. The 16th century mosque was allegedly razed by ‘kar-sevaks’ and sundry members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal on December 6, 1992. What followed was nationwide communal violence, and a divide between the majority and minority communities… a divide from which India didn’t quite emerge unscathed.


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