Need special courts in each districts of 18 states for trial of MP, MLA cases, SC informed

Need special courts in each districts of 18 states for trial of MP, MLA cases, SC informed
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NEW DELHI, December 13: Special designated courts in all districts of 18 states should be set up for speedy trial of criminal cases involving sitting and former lawmakers, the Supreme Court was informed Thursday.
Senior advocate and amicus curiae Vijay Hansaria told the top court that high courts in Bihar and Kerala have issued directions for setting up special designated courts in each of their districts as directed by it on December 4.
He said special courts, which were directed to be established by the Patna High Court and Kerala High Court, may be directed to exclusively deal with cases of lawmakers assigned to them on priority basis.
Hansaria, in his third status report filed on Thursday, said 18 states which do not have any special designated courts for trial of cases against lawmakers should be directed to set up in each districts.
“That in States, namely, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tripura and Uttarakhand no special courts have been constituted and cases are pending in respective jurisdictional court. It is submitted that appropriate directions for expeditious disposal of cases in the said states may be passed…”, the report said.
The apex court is seized of a PIL filed by lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay seeking a life time ban on politicians convicted in criminal cases besides the setting up of special courts to expeditiously try such cases. Hansaria was appointed by the apex court as amicus curiae in the matter.
He sought directions for respective High Courts of these 18 states to allocate the criminal cases involving sitting and former legislators to as many Sessions courts and Magisterial courts as each high court may consider proper, fit and expedient.
“Such courts will exclusively deal with cases thus assigned and no other cases till all such cases are decided. The courts will fix a calendar for each case and will try the cases on day to day basis without grant of adjournment except in rare and exceptional circumstances and for reasons to be recorded,” the report said.
Hansaria added that directions should be passed that the special courts will give priority to the trial of cases against MPs and MLAs without distinction between former and sitting legislators.
He said that first the special courts should first take up the matters pertaining to offences punishable with imprisonment for life, then cases of serious offences punishable with imprisonment of five years or more and then cases involving other offences.
“Each court will sent a monthly status report to the high court and the high court on examination of the same will issue necessary administrative directions as and when required,” he said adding that directions should also be passed to the forensic laboratories to give priority in furnishing the pending report in cases tried by the special courts.
He said that directions should also be given to the state government and Union Territory administration to designate at least two special public prosecutors for prosecuting cases being tried in special courts and request to the high courts to decide the cases where stays were being granted.
“That there are about 250 cases pending in different high courts in which further proceedings in criminal cases against MPs/MLAs have been stayed.
High Courts may be requested to decide all such cases preferably within three months from date of order of the court,” the report said.
Giving the details of number of pending cases against the lawmakers, Hansaria said that there are 430 cases which involve offences entailing life sentence and out of those charges have not been yet framed in 288 cases.
The apex court was informed that there were total of 4,122 criminal cases pending, some for over three decades, against present and former members of Parliament and legislative assemblies.
The top court had fixed the sequence for cases to be tried in these designated courts and said that cases against sitting or former Member of Parliament (MP) or Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) involving offences punishable with life imprisonment or death sentence, shall be taken as a first priority
The court had said that creating designated courts in each districts will be a more effective step instead of concentrating all the cases involving former and sitting legislators in one special designated court.
Earlier, Hansaria in his second status report had said that out of 4,122 cases, 2,324 are against sitting lawmakers both MPs/MLAs and 1,675 cases against former legislators (both MPs/MLAs).
The court had however, made it clear that the rest of the special courts already set up by the earlier direction of apex court shall continue to work and try cases assigned to them until further orders. (PTI)