PTI, NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Tuesday asked Bihar and Kerala to set up special courts in each of their districts for the trial of pending criminal cases against present and former MPs and MLAs.
Earlier in the day, the top court was informed that there were 4,122 criminal cases pending, some for over three decades, against present and former members of Parliament and legislative assemblies.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph passed the directions for setting up special courts in every district of the two states and also sought compliance reports from
the Patna and Kerala high courts by December 14.
The apex court directed the high courts to send back cases from special courts, which were already constituted, to jurisdictional district courts.
The Supreme Court has given the liberty of constituting as many courts as required in the districts of these two states for trial of cases against the legislators.
The apex court also said the special courts would take up life term cases on a priority while hearing pending matters against MPs and MLAs.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay seeking a life time ban on politicians convicted in criminal cases besides the setting up of special courts to expeditiously try cases involving elected representatives.
The apex court had sought detailed data on the pending criminal cases against the present and former legislators from the states and various high courts so as to enable the setting up of adequate number of special courts for expedited trial in these cases.
Senior advocate Vijay Hansaria who is assisting the court as amicus curiae in the matter along with advocate Sneha Kalita had filed the data received from states and high courts and submitted it to the apex court.
The data compiled had stated that in 264 cases, trial has been stayed by high courts. Further, the report said in several cases which have been pending since 1991, charges have not yet been framed.
In a previous hearing, the apex court had considered the submission of Hansaria that earmarking a particular court in each district both at sessions and magisterial level and directing them to treat the cases on a priority basis could be a viable option to ensure timely completion of proceedings.
The top court was also informed that 12 special courts set up to try lawmakers exclusively have not been constituted on a uniform pattern, and their number needs to be raised to 19 for trying cases at the sessions level.
It was also suggested to the apex court that another 51 such courts are required for magisterial trial cases.
The amicus had further said that special courts were constituted to exclusively deal with all cases including complaint cases against MPs, MLAs including the former ones, irrespective of the fact as to whether the same was committed when the concerned lawmaker was holding the said office.