The Supreme Court on Thursday issued a slew of directions for speedy disposal of criminal cases against Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assemblies (MPs/ MLAs) [Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay vs Union of India and anr]..A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud with Justices PS Narasimha and Manoj Misra ordered that High Court Chief Justices should institute a suo motu case to be heard by a special bench to monitor pending cases against MPs/MLAs. A special bench to be formed.Such special bench should be headed by the Chief Justice herself, the Court said.The Court also directed that cases against MPs/MLAs which are punishable by death should be prioritised over other cases. The concerned principal sessions judge should ensure sufficient infrastructural facilities are available for the trial of such cases, the top court further directed..The judgment came in a plea which among others things, sought a lifetime ban on convicted politicians including sitting lawmakers from contesting elections as opposed to the current six-year ban.The Court today did not decide on this prayer but only passed directions on expeditious disposal of cases. The prayer for lifetime ban would be considered later.Upadhyay has sought deletion of the six-year ban under Section 8(3) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 (RP Act) and substitution of the same with a lifetime ban.Section 8(3) of the RP Act reads as follows:“A person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two years… shall be disqualified from the date of such conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his release.”The Central government opposed the plea stating that that there is no difference between a public servant and an elected representative. It pointed out that there are no specific service conditions laid down in respect of elected representatives.The Election Commission of India backed the plea..Senior Advocate Vijay Hansaria served as Amicus Curiae in the case..While hearing a similar plea by Upadhyay, the Supreme Court had in April remarked that it cannot direct the Central government to ban those persons chargesheeted for serious offences, from contesting elections.