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Judiciary

Supreme Court tells HCs to register suo motu case; form special bench to monitor cases against MPs/MLAs

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      09 November, 2023 12:27 PM      0 Comments
Supreme Court tells HCs to register suo motu case form special bench to monitor cases against MPs MLAs

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the High Courts to register a suo motu case for effective monitoring and expeditious disposal of criminal cases involving sitting and former MPs and MLAs, besides prioritising those matters punishable with death penalty and life imprisonment.

A bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra passed a number of directions on a PIL filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.

The court said that it would be difficult for it to lay down uniform guidelines for trial courts across the country to dispose of these cases, and left it on the high courts to evolve measures for effective monitoring of such cases.

"The high courts have been dealing with these issues on the judicial and administrative side and they are alive to the situation which exists in each of their district courts.... We deem it appropriate to leave it to the high courts to evolve such methods or apply such measures for effective monitoring of such cases,” the bench said.

The bench said the chief justice of the high court shall register a suo moto case, regarding designated courts for MPs/MLAs, to monitor early disposal of criminal cases pending against the lawmakers.

“The suo moto case will be heard by a special bench presided over by the chief justice or a bench assigned by him. The special bench hearing the suo moto case may list the matter at regular intervals….the high court may issue orders and directions necessary for expeditious or effective disposal of cases,” the bench said.

The court also ordered that the special bench may consider calling upon the Advocate General or public prosecutor to assist the court and the high court may require the principal and district sessions judge to bear the responsibility of allocating cases to courts.

“The designated courts should give priority first to criminal cases against MP/MLAs punishable with death or life imprisonment. Then, cases with five years or more. The chief justice may list cases in which order of stay of trial have been passed before the special bench to ensure that appropriate orders including vacation of stay orders are passed for commencement and conclusion of trial,” the bench said.

The court disposed of Upadhyay's plea with regard to prayer for speedy disposal of cases against the lawmakers.

It, however, decided to consider on the next date another prayer by Upadhyay, questioning validity of a provision of the Representation of People Act for a lifetime ban, instead of six-year ban on convicted politicians including sitting lawmakers from contesting elections.

The court commended the assistance rendered by amicus curiae senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, and advocate Sneha Kalita and petitioner Upadhyay for taking up the matter on "mission mode".

Upadhyay said after the Supreme Court's interference, there are instances wherein persons facing criminal cases, declined to contest despite securing tickets from recognised political parties.



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