Tainted law­mak­ers: SC seeks full info from states, HCs on sta­tus of pend­ing cases

Financial Chronicle - - PLAN, POLICY -

THE Supreme Court on Wed­nes­day asked 25 states and union ter­ri­to­ries and the high courts to place be­fore it “full and com­plete up­dated in­for­ma­tion” about the sta­tus of cases pend­ing against MPs and MLAs.

The apex court also asked these states, union ter­ri­to­ries (UTs) and reg­is­trars gen­eral of all high courts to place be­fore it the “pre­cise num­ber” of cases which are cur­rently pend­ing and are re­quired to be trans­ferred to the spe­cial courts, set up to deal ex­clu­sively with cases in­volv­ing MPs and MLAs.

A bench of Jus­tices Ran­jan Go­goi and Navin Sinha noted that 12 spe­cial courts have al­ready been set up in 11 states and said the in­for­ma­tion should be placed be­fore it by Oc­to­ber 10, the next date of hear­ing. The bench noted in its or­der that 25 states and UTs, in­clud­ing Gu­jarat, Ra­jasthan, Haryana, Hi­machal Pradesh, Jammu and Kash­mir, Arunachal Pradesh, As­sam, Punjab and Chandigarh, have not fur­nished any in­for­ma­tion in pur­suance to the or­ders passed by the court on Novem­ber 1 last year and Au­gust 21 this year. “We di­rect the chief sec­re­taries of the above men­tioned (25) states and union ter­ri­to­ries as well as the reg­is­trars gen­eral of the High Courts in each of the states and union ter­ri­to­ries to lay be­fore us full and com­plete up­dated in­for­ma­tion as re­quired in terms of our or­der dated Novem­ber 1, 2017 and Au­gust 21, 2018,” the bench said. “We specif­i­cally di­rect the two au­thor­i­ties, namely the chief sec­re­taries of the states and the reg­is­trars gen­eral of the High Courts, to lay be­fore us the pre­cise num­ber of cases which are presently pend­ing and re­quired to be trans­ferred to the spe­cial courts; whether the 12 spe­cial courts set up are func­tional and whether in view of the vol­ume of cases that would be re­quired to be trans­ferred to the spe­cial courts, there is the ne­ces­sity of set­ting up of ad­di­tional courts,” it said.

The bench also made it clear that on re­ceipt of this in­for­ma­tion, the top court would, if needed, mon­i­tor com­pli­ance of its or­ders by club­bing a num­ber of states to­gether for be­ing sep­a­rately taken up on each date of hear­ing.

The SC or­der came on a pe­ti­tion filed by pe­ti­tioner and ad­vo­cate Ash­wini Ku­mar Upad­hyay seek­ing to de­clare the pro­vi­sions of the Rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the People Act, which bar con­victed politi­cian from con­test­ing elec­tions for six years af­ter serv­ing jail term, as ul­tra vires of the Con­sti­tu­tion. Se­nior lawyer Sa­jan Poovayya, ap­pear­ing for Upad­hyay, re­ferred to the af­fi­davit filed by the Depart­ment of Jus­tice and said 12 spe­cial courts have been set up in 11 states but there was no ma­te­rial to show how many cases have been trans­ferred to these courts. He said that as per the gov­ern­ment’s af­fi­davit, one spe­cial court has been set up in Andhra Pradesh and 25 cases were trans­ferred to the court, but it has not been said whether there were only 25 cases in­volv­ing MPs and MLAs in the en­tire state.

As per the gov­ern­ment’s af­fi­davit, the to­tal num­ber of cases trans­ferred, dis­posed of and pend­ing in these spe­cial courts are 1233, 136 and 1,097 re­spec­tively. Poovayya said the SC had in its Novem­ber 1 2017 or­der noted that there were 1,581 cases in­volv­ing MPs and MLAs, as de­clared at the time of fil­ing of the nom­i­na­tion pa­pers for the 2014 elec­tions, but this year, the num­ber of cases against them might have in­creased.

One spe­cial court has been set up in Bi­har, Andhra Pradesh, Ker­ala, Kar­nataka, Ma­ha­rash­tra, Te­lan­gana, Tamil Nadu, MP, UP and West Ben­gal; and 2 each in the NCT of Delhi

De­spite sev­eral crim­i­nal cases against him, Raghu­raj Pratap Singh or Raja Bhaiya (L) has been an MLA from UP’s Kunda assem­bly seat for 6 con­sec­u­tive terms

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