SC asks Centre to submit details regarding criminal cases pending against legislators across the country
‘The matters which are pending and hanging on the head of the people, you must take a final call and give us. You keep saying we are willing and we want to expedite,’ the court observed
The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to submit details regarding criminal cases pending against legislators across the country, legal news website LiveLaw.in has reported.
A bench headed by Justice NV Ramana noted that various High Courts had been asking for Video Conferencing facilities for effectuating disposal of pending criminal cases and asked the Centre to take instructions in this regard, particularly in terms of financing.
"The matters which are pending and hanging on the head of the people, you must take a final call and give us. You keep saying we are willing and we want to expedite...," Justice Ramana said.
The bench also stated that it shall supply a copy of a tentative data points stipulating various modalities to various High Courts across the country so that the judges of various High Courts can collate information accordingly.
Another concern that the bench expressed is that police in many cases was not enforcing laws as it was afraid of the legislators and that it was a serious matter. Bench asked the Centre to look into this issue as well.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta suggested that the top court may issue directions to the DG of police of each state so as to ensure timely summons etc. in the context.
Senior Advocate Vijay Hansaria informed the court that in pursuance of its last orders, various High Courts had filed their action plan on affidavit but Justice Ramana noted that there was no sense of clarity on various issues in the stipulations.
The amicus curiae had acted on a direction by the top court in the PIL filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking speedy disposal of criminal cases against both former MPs & MLAs, whereby the High Courts across the country were directed to compile a list of criminal cases against former and present legislators.
Hansaria further informed the court that unfortunately the number of cases pending against legislators had increased despite monitoring which stood at 4859 cases in the country. "Strict monitoring at the micro-level is required," he said.
Justice Ramana further pointed out that even though it had pointed out on the last date that the disposal rate of cases depended on the geographic locations of courts but no court had given any such information or data on record.
In this context, the Justice Ramana stated that the bench had prepared a "tentative data sheet" stipulating the name of high court, number of cases pending, current number of special courts available, infrastructure requirement etc. within a format which provides clarity about what exactly the problem was.
The Centre sought more time to submit information regarding pending cases and told the bench that information from various stakeholders was awaited.
The bench adjourned the case tentatively for 10 days.
On September 9, the top court was informed that criminal cases pending against sitting & former MLA's and MPs are 4442 in number. There are 2556 accused persons amongst the sitting legislators.
Filed on behalf of Senior Advocate Vijay Hansaria and Advocate Sneha Kalita, the amicus had stated, "There are total 4442 cases pending against MPs/ MLAs (sitting and former) in different courts including Special Courts for MPs and MLAs. In 2556 cases sitting legislators are accused persons. The number of legislators involved are more than total number of cases since there are more than one accused in one case, and the same legislator is an accused in more than one case". It is stated that in a large number of cases, non-bailable arrest warrants issued by the trial courts were yet to be issued and in many instances, they were yet to be executed by the trial court.