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Supreme Court asks Centre to frame scheme to set up Special Courts to try criminal legislators
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Supreme Court asks Centre to frame scheme to set up Special Courts to try criminal legislators

Chandan Goswami

The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to frame a scheme to set up Special Courts to deal with cases pertaining to criminal legislators.

The order was passed by a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha in a PIL filed by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking lifetime ban on convicted legislators.

The bench has asked the Centre to submit a draft scheme within 6 weeks.

The bench was of the view that since setting up of special courts would depend on the availability of finances with the State, a Central Scheme to exclusively deal with criminal cases involving political persons could solve the problem.

The court stated in its order,

  • “Insofar as setting up of Special Courts are concerned, setting up of Special Courts and infrastructure would be dependent on the availability of finances with the States. Without going into the controversy raised on the aforesaid score, the problem can be resolved by having a Central Scheme for setting up of Courts exclusively to deal with criminal cases involving political persons on the lines of the Fast Track Courts which were set up by the Central Government for a period of five (05) years and extended further which Scheme has now been discontinued.
  • A Scheme to give effect to the above may be laid before the Court on the next date fixed indicating the amount of funds that can be earmarked for setting up of Special Courts where-after the issue of appointment of Judicial Officers, Public Prosecutors, Court staff and other such requirement of man-power and infrastructure (which would depend on the availability of funds from the Central Government) will be dealt with by the Court, if required, by interacting with the representatives of the respective State Governments.”

The Court also sought details on how many of the 1581 cases involving Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and Members of Parliament have been disposed of within the time frame of one year as envisaged by the order of the Supreme Court dated March 10, 2014.

  • How many of 1581 cases involving Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and Members of Parliament (MPs.) [as declared at the time of filing of the nomination papers to the 2014 Elections) have been disposed of within the time frame of one year as envisaged by this Court by order dated 10th March, 2014 passed in Writ Petition (Civil) No.536 of 2011.
  • How many of these cases which have been finally decided have ended in acquittal/conviction of MPs. and MLAs., as may be. 3. Between 2014 and 2017 (as on date) whether any further criminal case(s) has been lodged against any present or former legislator (MP/MLA) and, if so, the detail(s) thereof, including detail(s) with regard to the disposal of such case(s).

The Central government through Additional Solicitor General Atmaram Nadkarni submitted that the Union Government would not be averse to setting up of Special Courts to try criminal cases/offences involving political persons for expeditious disposal of the same.

The matter has now been listed for December 13, 2017.

Read order:

29079_2016_Order_01-Nov-2017-watermark.pdf
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