New Delhi: The Supreme Court will on Wednesday resume hearing on the plea seeking setting up of special courts for trying lawmakers accused of criminal offences. Also Read - Sudarshan TV Row: 'Free Speech, Not Hatred,' Supreme Court Says Media Self-regulation System Toothless
The scheduled hearing comes a day after the Centre told the top court that 11 states have issued notifications for setting up of 12 special courts to exclusively deal with criminal cases registered against MPs and MLAs. Also Read - 2021 Haridwar Kumbh: In a First, Number of Pilgrims to Be Restricted; Entry Passes to Be Issued
The Union Ministry of Law and Justice, in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, said while two special courts are to be established in Delhi, one each would be established in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh. Also Read - Regulate Digital Media First: Centre Tells SC in Affidavit Filed in Response to Pleas Against Sudarshan TV
Out of the 12 special courts, six have been set up at the sessions court level, five at the magistrate level while the class of the Court in Tamil Nadu has not been indicated, it said.
The Centre also informed the SC that 1097 criminal cases are pending before 12 special courts. As many as 1,233 criminal cases involving MPs and MLAs were transferred to these courts. Of these 1,233 cases, 136 have been disposed of and 1,097 are pending, it informed the top court.
The Centre’s reply came in response to the August 21 order of the top court seeking to know the number of special courts that have been set up following its December 14, 2017 order and the number of cases pending before these courts by August 28.
On August 30, the top court expressed anguish over the Centre’s failure to provide details about the criminal cases pending against lawmakers and politicians in various courts across the country.
“The government is compelling us to pass certain orders which we do not want to at this stage. The Union of India is unprepared. We express our anguish,” a bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Navin Sinha and Justice KM Joseph had said.
On November 1, 2017, the top court had directed the Centre to set up special fast-track courts to exclusively try lawmakers and politicians facing criminal cases, so that the trial in such cases is expedited and completed in one year.
The court had also sought the status of trial in 1,581 cases involving elected representatives and the outcomes where the trials have been concluded.
It had sought details on how many of these have ended in acquittal or conviction of MPs and MLAs, as the case may be, while also calling for details of the fresh criminal cases filed since 2014 involving politicians and sitting lawmakers, their stage of trial and the outcome if the trial has concluded.