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Babri Masjid demolition case: Trial Judge seeks police protection in SC

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: August 23, 2019  | 20:42 IST

New Delhi, Aug 23 (PTI) A Special Judge holding trial in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case, involving BJP veterans L K Advani, M M Joshi and Uma Bharti, sought police protection from the Supreme Court on Friday. The top court asked the Uttar Pradesh government to look into the requests made by the Special Judge, Surendra Kumar Yadav, in his letter to the apex court considering the enormity of the work done by him. A bench of Justices R F Nariman and Surya Kant asked the state government to file an affidavit within two weeks on the steps it considers appropriate. "A letter has been written on July 27, 2019 by special judge Surendra Kumar Yadav, who is at present hearing the matter on day-to-day basis in which five requests have been made, which we think as reasonable. Considering the enormity the work done by him, we direct Uttar Pradesh government to look into the matter and file an affidavit clearly stating as what are the steps it considers appropriate," the bench said. At the outset, senior advocate Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for Uttar Pradesh government told the bench that they need two weeks time to issue orders extending the tenure of the judge, who is set to retire on September 30. She said that concurrence of the Allahabad High Court and approval of the Finance Department has been taken and within two weeks the orders for extension of tenure will be issued. The bench told Bhati that the needful orders should be issued within two weeks. The top court also told Bhati that another letter written by the special judge has five-requests including providing him police protection. Bhati said the state government will consider the requests and do the needful. The bench posted the matter for further hearing after two weeks. The apex court had on July 19 extended the special judge's tenure till the completion of trial and delivery of verdict in the case. However, the state government was yet to pass the order. He was also asked by the top court to deliver the verdict within nine months. The top court had said that the extension of tenure of the special judge, who is set to retire on September 30, will only be for the purpose of concluding the trial and delivering the verdict in the case. During the extended tenure, he will remain under the administrative control of the Allahabad High Court, the court had said. Besides Advani, Joshi and Bharti, the accused against whom conspiracy charge was invoked in the case by the Supreme Court on April 19, 2017, include former BJP MP Vinay Katiar and Sadhvi Ritambara. Three other high-profile accused Giriraj Kishore, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal and Vishnu Hari Dalmia died during trial and the proceedings against them have been abated. The top court had held that Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh, during whose tenure as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh the disputed structure was razed, was entitled to immunity under the Constitution as long as he remains in gubernatorial position. On April 19, 2017, the apex court had ordered day-to-day trial to be concluded in two years in the Babri Masjid demolition case. While dubbing the demolition of the medieval era monument as a "crime" which shook the "secular fabric of the Constitution", it had allowed the CBI's plea on restoration of criminal conspiracy charge against the VVIP accused. The court had termed the Allahabad High Court's February 12, 2001 verdict dropping conspiracy charge against Advani and others as "erroneous". Before the 2017 verdict of the apex court, there were two sets of cases relating to the demolition of the disputed structure on December 6, 1992 going on at Lucknow and Raebareli. The trial of first case involving unnamed 'karsevaks' was going on in a Lucknow court, while the second set of cases relating to the eight VVIPs were going on in a Raebareli court. PTI MNL ABA SA

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