In 2001, the Allahabad high court had cited a "technical defect" while cancelling the government's 1993 order that wanted the BJP leaders to be tried in a Lucknow special court. The high court wanted the Uttar Pradesh government to fix this defect and get the case back on track. But the state government just let it be.
"The accused persons have not been brought to book largely because of the conduct of the CBI in not pursuing the prosecution of the aforesaid alleged offenders in a joint trial," the Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice RF Nariman observed in its judgement on Wednesday.
It noted that the state government did not fix the defects "which were easily curable".
A joint trial at Lucknow "would have been well on its way and may even have been concluded by now" if the CBI had challenged the state's refusal to rectify its error in the notification.
In delivering Wednesday's verdict, the top court had to invoke its powers under the Constitution that gives the Supreme Court a free hand to pass any direction to deliver "complete justice".
It is a provision in the Constitution that is probably unique to the India; no other court in the world has such wide powers. The judges said the Article reminded them of the Latin maxim quoted by British judge Lord Mansfield in 1770, "Let justice be done though the heavens fall".
"This being so, it is clear that this Court has the power, nay, the duty to do complete justice in a case when found necessary," the judges said, calling the 1992 demolition a crime "which shake the secular fabric of the Constitution of India".