Special courts to try MPs, MLAs not enough: SC

Special courts to try MPs, MLAs not enough: SC

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the decision to set up just 12 special courts across the country to try MPs and MLAs for criminal cases was not sufficient.

Of the 12 special courts, only 11 were working as the Tamil Nadu government is yet to issue notification. Two special courts have been set up in Delhi and one each in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh for dealing with cases against the lawmakers.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph noted that more than 1,200 cases pertaining to MPs and MLAs were pending and the number of designated courts were not adequate.

Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, representing the Union government, however, submitted that the number of special courts was decided after taking views of the states and the respective high courts. The Centre can only provide funds but the decision to set up a special court has to be taken by the state government in consultation with the high court, he said.

Pending cases

The court, however, appointed senior advocate Vijay Hansaria as amicus curiae to verify the data on pending cases against the lawmakers in different states and suggest the required number of special courts to conduct trial against them. It posted the hearing on the PIL by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay to three weeks later.

The Union government's department of justice had earlier told the court that the Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Patna, Calcutta and Kerala high courts have informed that there was no need for more than one special court.

Three high courts – Hyderabad, Allahabad and Madras -- had not sought additional special courts.