Supreme Court told to conduct daily exclusive trial in 5,097 pending criminal cases against MPs, MLAs

Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. , Photo credits: Subramaniam S.

The Supreme Court is considering an amicus curiae report, which has recommended day-to-day and special criminal prosecution of MPs and MLAs, noting that there are 5,097 cases pending against MPs across the country.

Of these, more than 40 per cent – 2,122 cases – are pending for more than five years, noted a report submitted by senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, amicus curiae, before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud.

“According to Association for Democratic Rights report (July 2022)There are criminal cases against 236 (44%) out of 542 Lok Sabha members, 71 (31%) out of 226 Rajya Sabha members and 1,723 (43%) out of 3,991 state legislators,” the amicus, assisted by advocate Sneha Kalita, told the court. informed.

Mr Hansaria said the “large number of pending cases against sitting as well as former MPs and state legislators” was a serious issue.

‘No postponement’

The report recommended that the State High Courts and the Principal Sessions Judges of each district should allocate work among judicial officers so that these matters are dealt with exclusively on a day-to-day basis. “No adjournment shall be granted except in rare and exceptional circumstances and for reasons to be recorded,” the report recommended, adding that states should appoint at least two special public prosecutors.

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“If the public prosecutor and/or the prosecution fails to cooperate in the expedited hearing, the trial court shall forward a copy of the order to the Chief Secretary of the State, who shall take necessary remedial measures and submit a report,” it suggested.

The amicus said if the accused tried to delay the trial, their bail should be cancelled, proposing that priority should be given to matters relating to offenses punishable with death or life imprisonment. The amicus said that matters relating to sitting MLAs should be given priority over those of former MLAs.

The apex court has fixed the hearing in July.