The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed special MP/MLA Courts, trying criminal cases against legislators, to not grant adjournments except in exceptional cases and that too for reasons to be recorded.
The Court stated that this decision was made in light of the Supreme Court’s directions in the case of Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India and Others.
In February this year, the High Court of Punjab and Haryana made clear its intention of speeding up cases involving sitting and former legislators and parliamentarians in Chandigarh, Punjab, and Haryana.
As per the data combined by the director of the Bureau of Investigation in Punjab, after collecting information from Commissioners of Police and Senior Superintendents of Police of several districts, it has been found that at least 163 cases pending against sitting and erstwhile MPs and MLAs.
A bench of Justice Rajan Gupta and Justice Karamjit Singh, through a suo moto petition, had been monitoring the progress of cases of MPs and MLAs (sitting and former) pending in Punjab, Haryana, and Chandigarh. Taking on record the affidavits, the bench directed all subordinate courts to District and Sessions Judges in the two states and UT not to grant adjournments. Adjournments shall only be granted in exceptional cases for proper reasons to be recorded.
The Court observed, “All the courts in the three states shall comply with the directions issued by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay’s case (supra) in letter and spirit.”
The Bench also questioned the Union Territory about the delay in completing the investigation in cases. Answering the question, Kuldeep Chahal, Senior Superintendent of Police, Chandigarh, submitted that the investigation was slightly delayed due to the Covid-19 situation and an effort shall be made to conclude the same at the earliest.
The matter was adjourned and will be considered next on May 27, 2021.