New Delhi, Nov 1: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Central government to constitute special courts on lines of fast-track courts for expeditious disposal of cases pending against MPs and MLAs. The bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Navin Sinha gave the the government six weeks’ time to place before it the scheme for setting up of such courts for trial against lawmakers.
The apex court also asked the Centre to apprise it about finances involved for setting up special courts for cases against MPs and MLAs. The top court also sought the status of the trial in 1,581 cases involving politicians since 2014, and how many fresh cases have been filed against politicians and lawmakers in three years since 2014 as it fixed December 13 as the next date of hearing.
During the hearing, the Centre told the bench that decriminalisation of politics has to be done and it was not averse to the setting up of special courts to deal with cases involving politicians and speedy disposal of these matters. It also informed the bench that the recommendations of the Election Commission of India and the Law Commission favouring lifetime disqualification of politicians convicted in criminal cases was under the active consideration of the government.
The Election Commission of India sought a life ban on convicted MPs and MLAs from contesting elections. The ECI told the Supreme Court that it is in favour of barring convicted MLAs, MPs for life. Under the current law, a legislator is debarred for six years from contesting elections once he is convicted for heinous or moral offences.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ashwani Upadhyay had filed a PIL seeking a lifetime ban on MPs, MLAs from contesting elections. Earlier in July, the Supreme Court slammed the ECI for not taking a clear stand on a plea seeking to bar of convicted politicians for life.