SC asks states and Union Territories, High Courts for status of cases pending against legislators
The top court said the information should be submitted by October 12.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked 25 states and union territories, and High Courts to provide it “full and complete updated information” about the status of cases pending against MPs and MLAs. The court also ordered the states, union territories and High Courts to place before it the precise number of cases pending against legislators, which could be transferred to special courts to be set up to try only MPs and MLAs.
The top court was hearing a petition by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay, seeking its direction to establish special courts to fast track criminal cases against MLAs and MPs.
“Other than Delhi which has set up two courts and Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal information from other states have not been received,” Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Navin Sinha and KM Joseph observed, according to Live Law. They directed the chief secretaries of states, union territories and the registrar generals of High Courts to submit the information by October 12.
The court said that if necessary, it would monitor compliance of its directives by clubbing a number of states together on each date of hearing.
Senior lawyer Sajan Poovayya, appearing for Upadhyay, said that 12 special courts have been formed so far in 11 states, but it is unknown how many cases have been transferred to these courts, PTI reported. The government’s affidavit in the matter says that 1,233 cases against legislators have been transferred to the special courts, of which 136 have been disposed off.
The top court had on August 30 pulled up the Centre for not furnishing details of MLAs and MPs who have criminal cases against them, in accordance with its November 2017 order. “The Union of India is underprepared,” Justice Ranjan Gogoi said. The Centre’s counter affidavit also did not mention the number of criminal cases pending against lawmakers in courts.