The Asian Age

Fast track all cases on MPs, MLAs, Cen­tre to tell states

- AGE COR­RE­SPON­DENT

Tak­ing for­ward PM Naren­dra Modi’s move to purge Par­lia­ment of tainted mem­bers, the Union home min­istry is writ­ing to all state gov­ern­ment to ex­pe­dite cases against MPs and MLAs fac­ing charges that at­tract dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion. Law min­is­ter Ravi Shankar Prasad met Union home min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh on Mon­day to dis­cuss the is­sue of fast- track­ing cases of tainted MPs and MLAs. The move comes after the Supreme Court set a dead­line to com­plete trial in cases in­volv­ing legislator­s.

“It is a pri­or­ity com­mit­ment of the Modi gov­ern­ment that polity needs to be cleansed. Those against whom crim­i­nal cases are pend­ing, that trial needs to be ex­pe­dited. If they are clean, they will be ac­quit­ted. If they are not, the law will take its own course,” Mr Prasad said.

Law min­is­ter Ravi Shankar Prasad on Mon­day said cases against MPs and MLAs that at­tract dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion un­der Sec­tion 8(1), 8(2) and 8(3) of the Rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the Peo­ple Act needed to be com­pleted within one year of fram­ing of charges, ac­cord­ing to a March 10 di­rec­tion of the Supreme Court. Any sen­tence that at­tracts pun­ish­ment of two years and above can lead to dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion from Par­lia­ment or a state leg­is­la­ture.

The MHA will be send­ing twin ad­vi­sories to the states, one ask­ing them to speed up in­ves­ti­ga­tion in cases in­volv­ing legislator­s and a sep­a­rate ad­vi­sory on fa­cil­i­tat­ing re­lease of pris­on­ers who have served at least half the max­i­mum pe­riod of im­pris­on­ment spec­i­fied for that crime to tackle over­crowd­ing of prisons.

Mr Prasad said 66 per cent of the prison pop­u­la­tion to­day com­prises un­der­tri­als.

The decision was taken at a high- level meet­ing chaired by Mr Ra­j­nath Singh and at­tended by Mr Prasad and top home and law min­istry of­fi­cials, be­sides at­tor­ney- gen­eral Mukul Ro­hatgi.

“The gov­ern­ment is go­ing to follow up the di­rec­tion of the Supreme Court in a sub­stan­tial way whereby the home min­is­ter shall be writ­ing to all chief min­is­ters of the states, and I will be writ­ing to all law min­is­ters of the states, to en­sure manda­tory com­pli­ance with this pro­vi­sion,” Mr Prasad said.

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