Judge Who Acquitted 32 Accused In Babri Case Verdict Appointed ‘Up-Lokayukta’

Retired judge Surendra Kumar Yadav joins the anti-corruption watchdog less than a year after delivering the controversial judgment.

New Delhi: Retired judge Surendra Kumar Yadav, who gave the verdict in the high-profile Babri mosque demolition case last year, took oath as an up-lokayukta in Uttar Pradesh on Monday.

“Yadav was appointed as the third up-lokayukta by the Governor on April 6. On Monday, Yadav was administered the oath by Lokayukta Sanjay Mishra in the presence of other senior officers,” an official statement said. The Lokayukta is from a non-political background and functions as a statutory authority probing cases primarily related to corruption, government mismanagement, or abuse of power by public servants or ministers.

As a judge of special CBI court, Yadav had on September 30, 2020 acquitted all 32 accused, including BJP veterans L.K. Advani, M.M. Joshi, Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh, in the case of demolition of Babri mosque in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.

Yadav was supposed to retire in 2019, but he was given an extension of one year by the Supreme court in July that year. The court said that the extension would only be for the purpose of concluding the trial and delivering a verdict in the case. The Supreme Court then fixed September 30, 2020, as the deadline for the trial court to pronounce its judgement in the nearly three-decade-old case.

Also read: Special Court Acquits All 32 Accused in Babri Demolition Case

In his observations, the judge said that the demolition was not pre-planned and the accused persons were “trying to stop the mob and not incite them”. He added that there was not enough evidence against the accused and that the court cannot probe the authenticity of the audio and video evidence provided by the CBI.

The anti-corruption watchdog comprises the Lokayukta and three up-lokayuktas. The other two up-lokayuktas are Shambu Singh Yadav, who was appointed on August 4, 2016, and Dinesh Kumar Singh, who was appointed on June 6, 2020. The tenure of an up-lokayukta is eight years.

(With inputs from PTI)