Special courts will be set up in all districts in Bihar and Kerala to try pending criminal cases against legislators and parliamentarians, the Supreme Court said today. These courts will try both former and current leaders.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph passed the directions and also sought compliance reports from the Patna High Court and the Kerala High Court by December 14.
The cases that are already with special courts should be sent back to the district courts, the Supreme Court said. It gave the high courts the liberty of constituting as many courts as needed in the districts of these two states to try cases against the politicians.
The top court said the special courts will take up life term cases on priority while hearing pending matters against MPs and MLAs.
The court was hearing a petition filed by lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, seeking lifetime ban on politicians convicted in criminal cases, besides setting up of special courts to quickly try cases involving elected representatives.
The top court was informed that there were over 4,000 criminal cases pending, some for over three decades, against present and former Members of Parliament and legislative assemblies.
Senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, who is helping the court as amicus curiae along with advocate Sneha Kalita, had filed the data received from the states and the high courts and submitted it to the Supreme Court.
The data showed that in 264 cases, trial has been stayed by high courts, and in several cases pending since 1991, no charges have been framed.
In a previous hearing, the top court had considered the submission of Mr Hansaria that earmarking a particular court in each district, both at sessions and magisterial levels, and directing them to treat the cases on priority could be a viable option.
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 the 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.