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Supreme Court allows transfer of judges under P&H HC, Allahabad HC hearing MPMLA cases

Advocate Sneha Kolita appeared for Amicus Curiae Senior Advocate Vijay Hansaria. CJI asked the counsel representing the amicus curiae: "When amicus will be available, this matter requires hearing."

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The Supreme Court on Saturday allowed the applications of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Allahabad High Court to transfer of judicial officers/sessions court judges who are dealing with cases of prosecution of MPs or MLAs to other suitable  posts.

The three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Surya Kant ordered this while hearing the PIL related to inordinate delayed inquiries/investigation and/or criminal trials, pending against legislators which is of public importance.  

So far as application on behalf of Punjab and Haryana High Court was concerned, the Apex Court imposed the condition that the state shall be provided with immediate substitute judicial officers on the same day and the court shall not leave seat vacant for a single day as it should not affect expeditious proceedings to be conducted in such courts in any manner.

So far as the application of Allahabad High Court was concerned seeking transfer of Alok Shrivastva, Presiding officer, Special Court (MPs/MLAs) and of Pawan Kumar Rai, posted as Additional District and Sessions Judge, Special Court (MPs/MLAs), was allowed by the apex court, subject to condition that suitable officer be appointed without any delay.

However, the matter has been deferred for Monday, November 15.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal: “I may be convicted in the trial, My Lord. If there is no special magistrate court, then it goes to ordinary magistrate court.”

Advocate Sneha Kolita appeared for Amicus Curiae Senior Advocate Vijay Hansaria. CJI asked the counsel representing the amicus curiae: “When amicus will be available, this matter requires hearing.”

Sibal: “My Lord, have it on Monday. The trial is happening on day-to-day basis.”

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta: “I have had a word with amicus. He has filed a note.”

Sibal: “My application maybe listed on that day, My Lord.”

Senior Advocate Nidhesh Gupta: “Full court meeting is on Wednesday, My Lord.”

The 14th report of Amicus Curiae Vijay Hansaria submitted before the Apex Court suggested that Uttar Pradesh govt has withdrawn 77 cases relating to Muzaffarpur riots, says an affidavit filed before Supreme Court. Affidavit by Amicus Curiae also states that no “reasoned” order was passed while withdrawing these cases.

The affidavit by Amicus Curiae also states that a total of 51 MPs & 71 MLAs are accused in cases relating to the offence of Money Laundering pan India. It also says that of the 71 cases pending against the MLAs, 48 cases are at still stage of investigation. (Special Courts For MPs & MLAs)

Also Read: National Green Tribunal says its disappointed with non-responsiveness of Delhi Jal Board

Earlier, Supreme Court Special Bench of CJI, Justice Chandrachud and Justice Surya Kant heard plea regarding pendency of criminal cases against MPs & MLAs and expeditious disposal of the same by setting up of Special Courts. Only few High Courts, namely Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Guwahati, have furnished the required information related to pendency of criminal cases of such MPs and MLAs.

Amicus Vijay Hansaria informed the Supreme Court that as per Union of India’s status report, there are total 51 MPs & 71 MLAs/MLCs who are accused in cases under Prevention of Money Laundering Act. In addition to it, 151 cases are pending before Special Courts of CBI of which 58 cases are those cases punishable with life imprisonment.

SG Tushar Mehta stated before the apex court that there are only 5 cases in NIA.

The CBI had filed status report in a sealed cover which further discloses that there are 121 cases pending trial before distinct CBI Courts which involves sitting MPs and EX-MPs and 112 cases involving sitting MLAs and EX-MLAs.

The Writ Petition was filed to reduce criminalisation of politics and rationalise criminal prosecution of elected representatives, sought several prayers , for instance setting up of Special Courts to decide criminal cases akin to MPs/MLAs , and to implement the important electoral reforms proposed by Election Commission, Law Commission and National Commission, setting minimum qualifications and maximum age limit for MPs/MLAs.

Also Read: Allahabad HC asks outgoing executive, Elder’s Committee of Bar Association to resolve dispute

Amicus earlier apprised the apex court that there are 4442 cases in toto pending against MPs and MLAs i.e. both sitting and former ones. Around 413 cases relates to offences punishable with life imprisonment, out of which 174 cases are against sitting MPs and MLAs.

Some suggestions of Amicus Curiae in respect to expeditious disposal of pending cases against MPs/MLAs (Sitting or former):

1. (i) Special Courts in every district for MPs/MLAs

2. Practise Directions to be given by Special Courts

3. Implementation of Witness Protection

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