Tamil Nadu

Madras HC won’t let legislators drag criminal cases: Chief Justice

CHENNAI, 06/12/2011: Aerial view of 150 years of Madras High Court at Chennai. Photo: V. Ganesan   | Photo Credit: V. Ganesan

The Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, Sanjib Banerjee, on Tuesday said he wants to send a message “loud and clear” to all past and present legislators facing criminal charges that the court would not let them drag these cases and every effort would be made to dispose of them at the earliest, as per the Supreme Court’s directions.

Presiding over the first Division Bench along with Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, the Chief Justice said a comprehensive roadmap would be charted out, taking into account the litigative resourcefulness of the legislators who might file multifarious petitions to delay trial, and implemented in letter and spirit.

He stressed that the judges presiding over the special courts, constituted for hearing cases against past and present Members of Parliament as well as the Legislative Assembly, should treat all cases alike without giving room for complaints of cases against one political dispensation being given priority over others.

The observations were made during the hearing of a suo motu writ petition, taken up at the instance of the Supreme Court, for monitoring progress made by the special courts. Advocate General Vijay Narayan said one magisterial and one sessions court in every judicial district had been designated as special courts to hear cases against legislators. Since these judicial officers were already burdened with regular criminal cases, they could not make much progress in the cases against legislators. Even in Chennai where special courts had been constituted exclusively for trying offences against the legislators, one of those courts had been without a judge since September 18, the A-G told the Bench.

On his part, advocate B. Vijay, representing the High Court Registry, filed a detailed report listing out the progress made by various courts in disposing of cases against legislators. He said Justice N. Sathish Kumar had recently disposed of a number of petitions filed by past and present legislators to quash the criminal defamation cases pending against them.

After hearing all of them, the Chief Justice said he would want to give top priority to the issue and come up with a concrete plan by January 11. He said the State could be divided into different regions — North, Central and South — and special courts could be constituted for exclusive trial of cases against legislators.

He asked the A-G to ensure that the State government augments the resources required for expediting the trial in such cases.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 9:18:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-wont-let-legislators-drag-criminal-cases-chief-justice/article33505253.ece

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