The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the governments of Kerala and Bihar to set up special courts in each district to dispose of pending criminal cases against former and current MPs and MLAs, LiveLaw reported.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph said the states could constitute as many sessions courts and magistrates’ courts as needed in each district to deal with the cases. The court said cases with the possibility of life sentence and capital punishment for the accused should be considered on a priority basis.

The court also sought by December 14 compliance reports from the Kerala and the Patna High Courts, PTI reported.

The Supreme Court was hearing a petition filed by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay who had sought that special courts be set up to decide cases against MLAs, public officials, and members of the judiciary.

Amicus curiae Vijay Hansaria told the court that there are 4,122 cases pending against current and former MPs and MLAs, of which more than half, or 2,324, are against current lawmakers. Hansaria had suggested that a court at the sessions and magisterial level be set up in each district to try such cases, which should be heard on a daily basis.

These special courts will be required to submit a monthly status report to their respective High Courts, which will then turn them over to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court had in September asked 25 states, Union territories, and High Courts to provide it “full and complete updated information” about the status of cases pending against MPs and MLAs.