The Supreme Court on Friday extended the deadline for a special CBI court in Lucknow to complete the trial and deliver the verdict in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case by August 31.

Senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and others are defendants in the case against whom the trial is going on in the CBI court in Lucknow.

Last year, the apex court had directed to finish the hearing and give the verdict in nine months which was scheduled to end by April.

Meanwhile, the CBI judge wrote to the top court seeking extension of the date citing nationwide lockdown due to coronavirus.

The apex court also asked the CBI court to use video conferencing facilities and not to extend the date beyond August.

Besides the aforesaid parties, former BJP lawmaker Vinay Katiar and Sadhvi Ritambara are also listed in the case.

However, another three high-profile accused Giriraj Kishore, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal and Vishnu Hari Dalmia have died during trial.

The Supreme Court had in April 2017 set a two-year deadline for the completion of the trial. Later in July 2019, the deadline was extended further by nine months and the apex court had also extended the tenure of the CBI court judge till the case is over.

The judge was set to retire in September 2019.

The apex court had clubbed two criminal cases pending for years in the Rae Bareli and Lucknow courts and transferred it to the special CBI court in Lucknow.

The Rae Bareli case was related with the accusations against BJP and right-wing leaders for having given speeches to promote enmity and threatened national integration while the Lucknow case involves unnamed “kar sevaks” or activists.