SC asks Centre to constitute special court for cases against MPs, MLAs

  • SC asks Centre to constitute special court for cases against MPs, MLAs

SC asks Centre to constitute special court for cases against MPs, MLAs

A apex court bench, comprised of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha, asked the government to appraise it as to how numerous 1,581 cases have been disposed of within one year and how many have ended either in conviction or acquittal of the accused, reported the news agency PTI.

The government has been given six weeks time, by a bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Navin Sinha, to place before it the scheme for setting up of such courts for trial against lawmakers.

The court came across a report prepared by Association of Democratic Rights, an NGO associated with electoral reforms that disclosed names of 1,581 MPs/MLAs facing 13,500 criminal cases in the present Lok Sabha and State Assemblies.

This submission is crucial because the apex court had expressed its displeasure with the EC for being non-committal on a plea seeking a lifetime ban on convicted politicians.

The Supreme Court asked the government to give details of how many cases have been disposed of within one year as per its directions in 2014.

Many other politicians of various parties also undergoing trial in cases like A Raja and Kanimozhi of the DMK (2G scam) and Congress leader Suresh Kalmadi (CWG scam). "In some cases it takes 20 years for a person to be convicted and by this time he serves four terms as a legislator", he said.

The SC also observed that the average number of cases each court in the country was dealing with now was over 4,000 in subordinate judiciary, adding that unless a judicial official deals exclusively with cases involving politicians, it would be hard to complete these trials within a year.

Senior counsel Meenakshi Arora, appearing for the EC, said the Commission supported the petitioner to the extent that there should be de-criminalisation of politics.

The apex court had on July 12 pulled up the ECI for not taking a clear stand on a plea seeking barring of convicted politicians for life.

The Central government through Additional Solicitor General Atmaram Nadkarni submitted that the Union Government would not be averse to setting up of Special Courts to try criminal cases/offences involving political persons for expeditious disposal of the same.

It had said the offences for which the trial has to conclude within an year are those mentioned under Sections 8 (1), 8 (2) and 8 (3) of the Representation of People Act, and conviction for which attracts disqualification from the membership of the legislature.