New Delhi: The Supreme Court has asked the Chief Justices of all High Courts to immediately list all pending criminal cases involving sitting/former legislators (MPs/MLAs), particularly those where a stay has been granted, and all the matters should be heard by a bench comprising the Chief Justices.
A bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hrishikesh Roy said: “Upon being listed, the court must first decide whether the stay granted, if any, should continue, keeping in view the principles regarding the grant of stay enshrined in the judgment of this court.”
The bench, which had reserved its order on the matter on Wednesday, observed that in the event that a stay is considered necessary, the court should hear the matter on a day-to-day basis and dispose of the same expeditiously, preferably within a period of two months, without any unnecessary adjournment.
“It goes without saying that the Covid-19 condition should not be an impediment to the compliance of this direction, as these matters could be conveniently heard through video conferencing,” said the top court in its order, which has been uploaded on its website on Thursday.
After revealing that 4,442 cases are pending against sitting and former MPs and MLAs in different courts, amicus curiae informed the Supreme Court that there is no uniformity in setting up of special courts for cases concerning MPs/MLAs across the country.
The High Courts may be directed to prepare a blueprint for expeditious disposal of the cases within a year, suggested the amicus.
The top court also charted out a nine-point action plan for the Chief Justice of each High Court to formulate and submit an action plan for rationalisation of the number of Special Courts necessary, with respect to the following aspects: “a. Total number of pending cases in each district; b. Required number of proportionate Special Courts; c. Number of courts that are currently available; d. Number of Judges and the subject categories of the cases; e. Tenure of the Judges to be designated ;f. Number of cases to be assigned to each Judge; g. Expected time for disposal of the cases h. Distance of the Courts to be designated; i. Adequacy of infrastructure.”
The bench emphasised in order to fast-track these pending cases, the Chief Justices of the High Courts should also designate a special bench, comprising themselves, in order to monitor the progress of these trials.
The order has come on the PIL by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, who urged the court to give directions for speedy trial of criminal cases against sitting and former lawmakers.
The top court has listed the case for further hearing after two weeks.
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