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SC direction to expedite trial against legislators is welcome: Centre | India News

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SC direction to expedite trial against legislators is welcome: Centre | India News 2

NEW DELHI: With 4,442 cases pending against sitting and former MPs and MLAs, the Union government on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that it would welcome any direction from the court for speeding up the trials in the cases pending for years against elected representatives.
Solicitor general Tushar Mehta told a bench of Justices N V Ramana, Surya Kant and Hrishikesh Roy that the Centre will welcome whatever direction passed by the SC for expediting these trials. “One court per state may not be enough to speed up the trials in hundreds of cases pending in some of the states. The Supreme Court can fix a particular number of these categories of cases to one special court set up to exclusively try these cases”.
He said as per the earlier directions of the SC, the Centre has allocated required funds for setting up of the special courts, but most of the states have not yet submitted fund utilisation certificates. Justice Ramana-led bench asked the Centre to give details of the states which have not submitted utilisation certificate to facilitate passing of appropriate directions.
Amicus curiae Vijay Hansaria and advocate Sneha Kalita provided a fresh compilation of cases under Prevention of Corruption Act against sitting and former legislators. “As many as 175 cases are pending under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and 14 cases are pending under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002,” he said.
Hansaria said, “In the States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and West Bengal there is one Special Court for all cases against MPs/MLAs. In the State of Telangana apart from Special Court for MPs/MLAs cases are also pending before Special Court, CBI. In all other States, these cases are pending in respective jurisdictional courts.”
For expediting the trials in these cases, many of which have been stayed by the HCs, Hansaria said, “Each HC may be directed to assign/allocate criminal cases involving former and sitting legislators to one judicial officer in each district both for Sessions Courts and Magisterial Courts as Special Court MP/MLA. The HCs may be directed to prepare a blue print for expeditious disposal of the cases not later than one year for conclusion of trial.”
Referring to a 2018 judgment of the SC directing that if a case has been stayed for more than six months by a HC, the trial courts should resume proceedings irrespective of the stay order, Hansaria said, “In view of the law laid down by the SC, trial courts could proceed with the trial notwithstanding any stay granted by the HC unless fresh order is passed extending the stay by recording reasons.” SC reserved orders after hearing amicus curiae, the SG and petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay’s counsel Vikas Singh.

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