SC seeks info on special courts to try MP/MLAs

SC seeks info on special courts to try MP/MLAs

The Supreme Court on Thursday expressed its displeasure over the failure of the Centre to provide details of criminal cases, decided and pending against MPs and MLAs, before the special courts, set up to conduct a trial against them.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Navin Sinha and K M Joseph found that the Union government was “unprepared” as a counsel could not answer to the specific queries put by the court on November 1, 2017.

The top court had then sought to know how many of 1,581 cases, involving MLAs and MPs as per the declaration at the time of filing of the nomination papers, have been disposed of within the time frame of one year as envisaged by this court by an order of March 10, 2014.

On August 21, the court again sought to know how many special courts have been set up, whether courts set up were of sessions or magisterial courts and if the Centre intended to set up an additional number of courts.

In its response filed on Wednesday, the Union government said 12 special courts were set up in 11 states with an estimated operational annual expenditure of Rs 7.80 crore to try the criminal cases involving elected MPs and MLAs. The required proportional funds have been released to state government concerned, it said.

With regard to other queries, the law ministry said the legislative department would be filed separately.

The Centre also informed that two special courts in Delhi and one each in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have been set up.

In Tamil Nadu, the proposal is under consideration before the Madras High Court.

It also said the High Courts of Karnataka, Allahabad, Madhya Pradesh, Patna, Calcutta and Delhi have informed that there was no requirement of additional special courts. The Bombay HC, however, has expressed the requirement of an additional court.

The court posted the PIL filed by lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay in this regard for consideration on Wednesday.