Sunday, December 3, 2023

SC to hear next week PIL seeking speedy disposal of criminal cases against lawmakers

Supreme Court

NEW DELHI, November 10: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it would hear next week the PIL seeking life ban on the lawmakers convicted in heinous criminal cases as also speedy disposal of cases against them.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana, which has been passing a slew of directions time-to-time on the PIL for ensuring speedy investigation by the CBI and other agencies and conclusion of trials besides setting up of additional special courts by the high courts, informed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the case would be taken up next week.
Few applications have been filed regarding the jurisdiction of the special courts trying the lawmakers, said the bench which also comprised justices A S Bopanna and Hima Kohli.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal had mentioned a case on Tuesday saying that the apex court in its judgement, passed on the PIL filed by Ashwini Upadhyay, had directed that cases against MPs and MLAs have to be tried by “designated magisterial court”.
“But in the state of Uttar Pradesh, it has not been done and hence, the matter (criminal case) goes to the sessions court for trial without committal (of the case by a designated magisterial court),” Sibal had argued.
“We will be listing the matter,” the bench had assured the senior lawyer on Tuesday.
Earlier, the top court had expressed its “deep concern” over tardy probe and prosecution in CBI cases against the lawmakers and had issued a slew of directions for ensuring speedy investigation by the agency and conclusion of trials, besides setting up of additional special courts by the high courts.
It had asked high courts to set up special courts wherever such additional courts are required to be constituted for expeditious disposal of pending trials and apprise it of any “non-cooperation by the Central or State Governments” on the issue.
“Without going into minute details, we are deeply concerned with the current state of affairs with respect to these (CBI) cases. The Solicitor General assures us that he will take up the matter with the Director, CBI, for providing adequate manpower and infrastructure to the said agency so that pending investigations can be completed at the earliest.
“The CBI shall also take necessary steps to secure the appearance of the accused and provide necessary assistance to the CBI Courts for framing charges and to proceed further to conclude the trials. The CBI shall ensure that there is no lapse on its part in producing the prosecution witnesses..,” the bench had said in the order.
As per the CBI report, 121 cases were pending trial before different CBI Courts involving sitting and former MPs and 112 matters pending against serving and former MLAs.
“As per this Report, 37 cases are still at the investigation stage, the oldest being registered on 24th October 2013. The details of cases pending trial unveil that there are several cases in which the charge sheet was filed as far back as the year 2000, but are still pending either for appearance of accused, framing of charges or prosecution evidence,” the bench had noted while expressing concern.
Taking note of status reports, it had said the high courts shall constitute special CBI Courts wherever they are needed to be set up for expeditious disposal of pending trials.
The special courts are needed to be set up in different parts of states where more than 100 cases are pending to ensure easy accessibility to the witnesses and decongestion of existing infrastructure, it had said.

The top court is hearing a PIL filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay seeking life ban on lawmakers convicted in heinous criminal cases and speedy disposal of cases against them. (PTI)