LUCKNOW/NEW DELHI: While the much awaited day of verdict in Babri Masjid demolition case has finally arrived after a prolonged legal battle of 28 years, the appearance of around six of the accused is unlikely during the pronouncement of the judgment.
Incidentally, special judge Surendra Kumar Yadav is retiring on Wednesday as per the UP government’s last order.
In case, the judge convicts the accused and slates the quantum of sentence to some other date, then the state government will have to issue another extension to the judge.
The retirement age of district court judges is regulated by state service rules.
The state government has made elaborate three-tier security arrangements in and around the special CBI court premises in Lucknow to avert any untoward incident.
Those who may get an exemption from personal appearance in the court during the delivery of the verdict include BJP stalwarts LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti, former UP chief minister and ex-Rajasthan governor Kalyan Singh, Ram Janmbhoomi Nyas chief and chairman of Shree Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust Mahant Nritya Gopal Das and Shiv Sena leader Satish Pradhan.
While the law makes personal appearance mandatory for all the accused at the time of judgment delivery, those seeking exemption have taken the pretext of old age and pandemic.
According to legal experts, in ordinary circumstances such an application is generally allowed by the trial court.
While Advani and Joshi are likely to seek court’s permission to appear through video conferencing due to age factor, rest four have shown their inability to appear on health grounds, said sources.
Bharti, Kalyan Singh and Nritya Gopal Das have been in the grip of coronavirus. Bharti is Covid-positive and convalescing at AIIMS in Rishikesh. Speaking to this newspaper, Das said after recovering from Covid-19 last month, he was still under doctors’ observation.
“The doctors have advised me against movement even though my condition has improved,” said the Mahant.
ACCUSED WHO DIED
- Bal Thackeray, former Shiv Sena chief.
- Ashok Singhal, ex-VHP International president.
- Mahant Avaidyanath, former mahant of Gorakhnath math.
- Vishnu Hari Dalmia, ex-president VHP.
- Paramhans Ramchandra Das, Janmabhoomi Nyas ex-chief.
- Acharya Giriraj Kishore, ex-senior vice-president of VHP.
- Baikunth Lal Sharma, ex-BJP MP from East Delhi.
- Moreshwar Save, ex-Shiv Sena MP.
- Devendra Bahadur Rai, ex-BJP MP.
- Ramesh Pratap Singh, Bajrang Dal leader.
- Mahamandaleshwar Jagdish Maharaj, Hindu activist.
- Vinod Kumar Vatsa, kar sevak.
- Ram Narayan Das, kar sevak.
- Laxmi Narayan Das, kar sevak.
- Hargovind Singh, kar sevak.
- Satish Kumar Nagar, kar sevak.
CHARGES AGAINST ACCUSED
*Crime No 197/92: Under various IPC sections for dacoity, causing hurt to deter public servants, defiling a place of worship, trespass in any place of worship, promoting enmity on grounds of religion.
*Crime no 198/92: Under IPC sections for rioting, unlawful assembly, promoting enmity on grounds of religion.