Special courts to try politicians, Centre informs SC

Centre has allotted ₹7.8 crore and framed a scheme to set up them, SC told

December 12, 2017 10:40 pm | Updated 10:40 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 it will set up at least 12 special courts to try exclusively criminal cases involving MPs and MLAs.

The government, in an affidavit, said it had allotted ₹7.8 crore and framed a scheme to set up the special courts.

The document, filed through Reeta Vasishta, Additional Secretary, Law and Justice Ministry, said the scheme had been given in-principle approval by the Finance Ministry on December 8.

1,581 cases

The court on November 1 directed the Centre to place before it details of 1,581 cases involving MPs and MLAs, as declared by the politicians at the time of filing their nominations during the 2014 general elections.

The affidavit was in response to a Supreme Court direction in November to the government to frame a Central scheme for setting up special courts across the country exclusively to try criminal cases involving “political persons”. The court is hearing a PIL petition filed by Supreme Court advocate Ashwini Upadhyay who has sought a lifetime ban on all convicted politicians.

In a determined effort to cleanse politics of criminality and corruption, the court said it took years, probably decades, to complete the trial against a politician.

By this time, he or she would have served as a Minister or legislator several times over.

Call for Central scheme

Countering the Centre’s argument that setting up such courts would depend on the availability of funds with the States, the apex court said “the problem can be resolved by having a Central scheme for setting up of courts exclusively to deal with criminal cases involving political persons on the lines of the fast track courts...”

A Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha had ordered the government to place the scheme before it on December 13, the next date of hearing.

The scheme should give the details of the funds that are required to set up such courts.

The Bench said the Supreme Court would directly interact with the State governments on issues like the appointment of judicial officers, public prosecutors, court staff and other requirements of manpower and infrastructure for the special courts.

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