An accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case failed to appear in court Friday, saying he lived in a containment zone and had quarantined himself after running a fever, an explanation which the judge did not accept.
A special court is recording the statements of the 32 accused under section 313 of the CrPC, a stage in the trial following the examination of the prosecution witnesses.
Pawan Kumar Pandey's lawyer said the area where he lived has been declared a containment zone to stop the spread of coronavirus. Pawan Pandey is running a fever and has quarantined himself because of it, the lawyer told the CBI court.
Judge S K Yadav, however, said he could not be excused from appearing in court.
"From the application for exemption moved by Pandey's lawyer, it appears that he is not infected with coronavirus and hence he will have to appear in court when so directed," the judge said.
The court wrote again to the National Informatics Centre (NIC) for making the necessary arrangements at the homes of those who are above 65 or sick and want to appear in court through video conferencing.
It had listed 10 such accused, but two of them have already appeared in court to depose in person.
It appreciated the installation of a video conferencing system in the court premises.
BJP veterans L K Advani, M M Joshi and Kalyan Singh and Ram temple trust head Mahant Nritya Gopal Das have opted for recording their statements through a video link.
Fifteen of the 32 accused are yet to record their statements under section 313 of the CrPC.
The CBI court has been conducting day-to-day proceedings in order to conclude the trial by August 31, as directed by the Supreme Court.