NEW DELHI: Paving the way for trial of criminal cases against tainted lawmakers to end within a year, the Supreme Court on Thursday approved the Centre’s scheme to set up 12 fast-track courts across the country to exclusively try 1,581 such politicians and directed that the special courts be made operational from March 1.
A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha admitted that 12 courts might not be sufficient to decide all Cases Pending against MPs and MLAs within a year but the said a beginning had to be made for speedy trial and it would consider setting up more courts after getting data on number of cases pending against lawmakers.
“Setting up 12 courts is not the end of the process but the beginning. Let the courts first start functioning and we will see what further direction is needed,” the bench said after petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay alleged that there were more than 13,500 criminal cases pending against politicians and 12 courts would not be able to decide all cases in one year.
Holding that the Centre’s scheme on constituting special courts was “rudimentary at this stage”, the bench, however, allowed the plan to be implemented. It directed the Centre to disburse Rs 7.8 crore, earmarked for the scheme, among states where the courts are to be set up. It directed states to take all necessary steps in consultation with high courts to set up special courts to ensure that they started functioning from March 1.
Two special courts will handle cases against 228 MPs and the rest will be set up in 10 states —Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, MP, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, UP and West Bengal —where the number of tainted MLAs are more than 65 each. The Centre said in other states, such cases could be tried before the special court of a neighbouring state. The bench also directed the Centre to collect data on pending cases against MPs and MLAs within two months to decide whether the number of special courts needed to be increased. It posted the case for further hearing on March 7.
Additional solicitor general A N S Nadkarni told the court the scheme was planned as a tentative measure and it would be modified to increase the number of courts.
Source : timesofindia