New Delhi: As per information received from all the High Courts of the Supreme Court, there are 4,442 criminal cases against leaders in the country and out of these, 2,556 cases are pending against the sitting MPs and MLAs. On petitions filed for speedy disposal of pending criminal cases against elected representatives in Parliament and Legislative Assemblies, the Court directed the Registrar General of all High Courts to present details of such pending cases. Senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, who is playing the role of amicus curiae in the case, has compiled the details from all the high courts and submitted his report to the apex court.
This report states, “The report by all the High Courts shows that a total of 4,442 such cases are pending, out of which 2,556 cases are against the current MP-MLA accused.” Hearing of 352 of these cases has stalled due to the adjudication order of the higher courts. ”The 25-page affidavit submitted in the court stated that of these 2,556 elected representatives are accused. The number of representatives involved in these cases is more than the cases because more than one such elected representative is involved in one case while the same representative is accused in more than one case. This report was filed on the order given by the court on the PIL of BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhyay.
Hansaria, in his affidavit, has also presented a list of cases in which cases of adjournment have been stayed due to adjournment orders of higher courts. According to the report, the apex court and the High Court have stayed the hearing of 352 cases. 413 cases pertain to offences in which there is a provision of life imprisonment. Out of these, 174 cases include elected representatives. According to the report, this chart tops Uttar Pradesh where 1,217 cases are pending against the lawmakers and out of these 446 such cases involve the current lawmakers. Similarly, out of 531 cases in Bihar, the current lawmakers are accused in 256 cases.
The report said that many cases were registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act, Prevention of Money Laundering Act, Arms Act, Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code. The Nyaya Mitra has also made several suggestions to the court for speedy disposal of cases related to these leaders. These include suggestions for setting up special courts in each district for cases of MPs and MLAs. The report said that the high courts should monitor the progress of such cases.
The affidavit suggested that each High Court should ‘automatically’ file a special court name for MPs/MLAs to monitor the progress of such pending cases in the state and ensure compliance with the apex court’s directives. It added, “Each High Court may nominate sessions courts and magistrates’ courts as required for hearing, depending on the number of lawsuits relating to past and present lawmakers and the trend of the case.” The High Court can take such a decision within four weeks of the order.”
The report also suggested that special courts should prioritize cases where the punishment for the crime is capital punishment or life imprisonment. After this, offences punishable by imprisonment of seven years should be taken. The report suggested that matters related to current lawmakers should be given priority over cases of former lawmakers and forensic laboratories should be given priority in preparing their reports in cases of ongoing lawsuits in special courts.
The apex court had ordered in relation to the present MPs and MLAs against whom prosecutions under Section 8 (1) (2) and Section 8 (3) of the Representation of the People Act has been set. The court directed that the cases of these Honorable be speedily heard and completed within a year from the date of framing of the suit as much as possible. The court had directed to hear such cases daily and said that if the court is not able to complete the trial within a year due to unavoidable reasons, then it will have to submit its report to the Chief Justice of the High Court. In such a situation, the Chief Justice of the High Court can give an appropriate order to the concerned court regarding the period of completion of the trial.