New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed setting up of special courts in Kerala and Bihar for expediting trials of pending criminal cases against present and former members of Parliament and legislative assemblies.
A bench, comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Krishan Kaul and KM Joseph, said the special courts would take up life-term cases on priority while hearing pending matters against sitting and former legislators.
Last year, the apex court had ordered setting up of 12 fast-track courts in 11 states to try exclusively the pending criminal cases against MPs and MLAs with a view to expediting the disposal within one year. Before that, in 2014, an order had been issued to dispose of cases within a year after filing the charge-sheet.
However, as the previous orders had failed to yield the desired results, the bench directed the states to constitute designated courts to deal with criminal cases involving former and present MPs and MLAs.
The court passed the order while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by lawyer and BJP leader Aswhini Upadhyay seeking a lifetime ban on politicians convicted in criminal offences besides putting in place special courts to ensure speedy trial.
Senior advocate Vijay Hansaria who is assisting the court as amicus curiae in the matter submitted the detailed data received from states and High Courts to the apex court and made suggestions to expeditiously try those cases.
Both Kerala and Bihar have been directed to submit the status report to the Supreme Court by December 14. The designated courts are required to submit a monthly report to the HC with regard to the cases where charge-sheets have not yet been filed, charges not framed with appropriate reasons and the progress of the trial.
The court also said the special courts would take up cases involving offences punishable with imprisonment for life or death penalty on priority.
Kadakampally tops the list
Kerala Power Minister M M Mani also figured in the list along with MLAs M Naushad and T V Rajesh and several other ministers and legislators from different states.
As per the report submitted by the amicus curiae, a murder case was registered against Mani based on an FIR registered on November 12, 1982. Though the charge-sheet was filed in 2015, charges are yet to be framed. The minister has filed a plea seeking a stay on the proceedings in the case.
MLA M Naushad was booked in a murder case on an FIR registered on November 24, 1997, but charges have not been framed yet. A court, the details of which is unspecified, has granted an interim stay on the proceedings. Also, charges have not been framed in another FIR registered on February 20, 2012 against him. The case has been handed over to the CBI for reinvestigation, the report said.
The elected representatives from Kerala with the maximum number of cases are Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran (24 cases), MLAs Antony John (18), C K Saseendran and N M Shamseer (15 each).
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