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Cases against legislators: Have 2-year judicial tenures, deal with sitting MPs, MLAs first, suggests amicus

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New Delhi (ILNS): The Supreme Court-appointed Amicus, Senior Advocate Vijay Hansaria, today made two critical suggestions to the bench of Justices NV Ramana, Aniruddha Bose, and Surya Kant. He said that the judicial officers appointed for the special courts (to deal with criminal cases related to MPs and MLAs) must be allowed to continue for a period of 2 years and then transferred so that the matters don’t remain part-heard and are disposed of by the same judicial officer. He also suggested that cases of sitting legislators should be tried first “because there is a public interest involved and they cannot sit in the legislatures and make law for us when they themselves are involved in criminal cases.”

The amicus also informed the bench that that al the high courts have given their reports, pursuant to the top court’s October 6 order.

The bench is hearing an application filed by Ashwini Upadhyay, seeking “utmost expeditious disposal” of pending criminal cases against MPs and MLAs.

The petitioner has averred that though the apex court has consistently passed orders for setting up fast track courts for speedy disposal of criminal cases related to MPs and MLAs, political persons are leaving no stone unturned to defeat the purpose of this Writ Petition and the effect of the orders passed by the Court. Further, the state has failed to prioritize the issue of speedy disposal of cases against MPs or MLAs.

In compliance with the court’s order of November 1, 2017, the Central Government proposed a scheme to set up 12 fast track courts. This scheme was approved by the Court in its order of December 14, 2017. The order directed the state governments to set up the fast track courts in consultation with the respective High Courts. The top court also granted power to the High Courts to trace the case records of Trial Courts and transfer those cases to the respective Special Court.

The petitioner has further alleged that the cases pending against MPs and MLAs were not being transferred to the Special Courts constituted to try criminal cases involving MPs and MLAs of Tamil Nadu. The courts where these cases were pending were merely adjourning the matters. Moreover, the State of Tamil Nadu has around 313 criminal cases pending against MPs and MLAs. Political persons of all the parties have applied every trick in the book and the Government of Tamil Nadu has collaborated with them to prevent speedy disposal of these cases. 

It has further been said that former ministers file petitions on frivolous grounds that there is no jurisdiction to try the case against them as they are no longer MPs or MLAs. Therefore, it is necessary to provide clear guidelines along with a strict timeline for adjudication of matters pending against MLAs and MPs.

Hence the petitioner has urged the court to ensure that all the cases involving elected MPs and MLAs be transferred to Special Courts and no heed should be paid to the argument that they were not MPs or MLAs at the time of the offense or at the time of registration of FIR be transferred.

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It has also been prayed to direct the State of Tamil Nadu to establish exclusive Special Courts in every district, exclusively for trial of cases involving MPs and MLAs and dispense with the trial of these cases in the designated Principal District and Session Courts in all Session Divisions in the State and also to provide adequate infrastructure to the Special Courts, within a period of 30 days.

Today Hansaria also suggested that there should be a cadre of public prosecutors for these cases.

-India Legal Bureau

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