Supreme Court is likely to consider the suggestion proposed by its amicus curiae Vijay Hansaria to have special websites for details of the pending cases against the 4,859 former and serving lawmakers in order to keep the record and expedite the trials.
In 2016, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay had moved Supreme Court to expedite the trials against the former and current lawmakers. He had raised the issue of inordinately delay in disposal of criminal cases against MPs and MLAs.
Vijay Hansaria was appointed as the amicus curiae in the plea who had informed the top court about the increase in criminal cases against MPs and MLAs in last two years. In 2018, there were 4,122 criminal cases while the figure has reached 4,442 cases by March 2020. Currently there are 4,859 criminal cases are pending in 25 High Courts against the current and former MPs and MLAs.
“It is therefore submitted that strict monitoring at the micro-level, by the High Courts, is necessary to ensure expeditious disposal of the cases against legislators,” submitted Hansaria.
To support his suggestion, Hansaria cited an example of the Telangana High Court’s move to create a special website to post the regular updates on pending cases against the lawmakers. “A special website may be created for posting the details of cases pending against MPs and MLAs in various courts, including the case status, as has been done by the Telangana High Court,” said Hansaria.
Earlier on Spetember 16, amicus curiae Hansaria has also suggested to form special courts in every district to deal with such cases exclusively. Such special courts are already there in the states including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi, Maharashtra, and Kerala.
The pending cases are with Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate, and other central agencies under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The highest number of pending cases against MPs and MLAs are in Uttar Pradesh (1374), followed by Bihar (557), Tamil Nadu (361), and Maharashtra (337).
All the courts have filed their action plan except Meghalaya and Tripura High Courts.
Hansaria in his latest report on Monday, has submitted that some of the High Courts have asked their state governments to appoint some police officials as nodal prosecution officers and additional special public prosecutors to proceed with the apex court’s September 16 direction.
The nodal prosecution’s duty will include producing accused and witnesses in the court and to ensure the execution of summons and non-bailable warrants. “In case of any lapse, the officer would be liable for contempt of court apart from disciplinary proceedings,” stated Hansaria.
Hansaria has also mentioned about the issue of granting stay to these lawmakers which lead to pendency of cases. Supreme Court has granted stay in 10 such cases and High Courts in 300 such matters.
Following top court’s directions, Kerala high Court has decided to take the pending criminal cases against sitting and former MPs and MLAs on every Saturday. Besides that, the Chief Justice is going to review the progress in pending cases in all the courts of the state every fortnight. Telangana High Court has also decided to create two special courts in Karimnagar and Mahbubnagar to deal with the cases against lawmakers.
Delhi High Court on Tuesday, has also acted upon the SC’s direction and has sought replies from centre, AAP, and its own registry over the status of pending criminal cases against former and sitting lawmakers. “Highlight the work done by you (Centre, Delhi government and high court registry),” said Delhi HC bench comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan.