The Supreme Court on Monday directed a sessions judge in Lucknow to submit a report on how he plans to complete the trial in the Babri Masjid demolition case by the April 2019 deadline it had imposed in 2017, reported PTI. The case involves senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti. The report should be submitted in a sealed cover, said the top court.

There are two cases in connection with the Babri mosque demolition – one in Lucknow and the other in Raebareli. The Raebareli court had been hearing the case against leaders of the BJP and Vishwa Hindu Parishad while the other case against karsevaks has been pending in the Lucknow trial court.

A bench of justices RF Nariman and Indu Malhotra was hearing trial court judge SK Yadav’s plea challenging an Allahabad High Court order that stayed his promotion. The High Court had cited a Supreme Court order that asked him to complete the trial before he was moved. The top court on Monday sought the Uttar Pradesh government’s response to the petition.

In April 2017, the Supreme Court had ordered that a day-to-day trial be held in the case, and said it should be closed by April 19, 2019. It had restored the criminal conspiracy charges against Advani and Joshi and directed that the trial court judge should not be transferred until the case comes to an end. “The case shall not be adjourned on any ground except when the sessions court finds it impossible to carry on the trial for that particular date,” it had said.

On December 6, 1992, the mosque was demolished by lakhs of karsevaks who had gathered at the site from across the country. The incident had triggered communal riots across the country. The karsevaks had claimed that the land on which the mosque stood was the birthplace of Ram.