12 special courts set up to try MPs, MLAs: Centre tells SC

The apex court had ordered fast-tracking of long-pending trials of lawmakers

September 11, 2018 11:08 pm | Updated 11:08 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The Supreme Court of India,  in New Delhi.
Photo: Shanker Chakravarty 10-11-2003

The Supreme Court of India, in New Delhi. Photo: Shanker Chakravarty 10-11-2003

The Centre on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that 12 special courts have been set up across 11 States exclusively to try sitting MPs and MLAs.

Delhi has two such courts, while Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have one each. Six are sessions courts and five are magisterial courts. “The class of court in Tamil Nadu is not indicated,” the Centre’s affidavit said.

The special court in each State would have jurisdiction over the entire State while the two in Delhi would cover cases within the precincts of Delhi or “partly Delhi”.

The Supreme Court had on December 14, 2017 ordered that special courts be set up across the country to fast-track the long-pending trials of lawmakers. These courts would devote themselves for the purpose.

The Centre said 1,233 cases had been transferred, 136 disposed of and 1,097 cases were pending in these special courts.

In future, the Centre said States should shell out funds to set up additional courts to try MPs and MLAs. The Centre said it had anyway sent out a letter to various High Courts on August 23, asking if there was any need for additional courts.

High Courts like Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Patna and Calcutta have indicated that there was no need for additional courts. The Bombay High Court said there is a requirement for more courts, but has not indicated the number. Madras, Hyderabad and Allahabad High Courts have not responded to the letter, the Centre informed the Supreme Court.

The Centre further accused State governments and High Courts of not parting with updated information on the number of criminal cases pending or disposed against the MPs/MLAs .

It even apologised to the Supreme Court if the information provided was incomplete. It said States and High Courts hardly responded to its repeated requests.

The government also asked the Supreme Court to make the State governments and High Courts respond with the latest data on the trials of allegedly corrupt and criminal politicians. The Centre urged the Supreme Court to, “direct all the relevant High Courts and State governments to present up-to-date information regarding the number of cases transferred to the special courts and those being tried in other district and subordinate courts, cases disposed of and pending, conviction or acquittal, as the case may be, in the disposed of cases.”

The affidavit comes in response to a Supreme Court order to the Centre to collect and file the data on the number of special courts set up across the country to exclusively try MPs/MLAs, the cases transferred to these special courts, how many pending or disposed of, etc.

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