Supreme Court Expedites Criminal Trials Against Lawmakers Ahead of Polls
© AP Photo / Altaf QadriSupreme Court in New Delhi, India
© AP Photo / Altaf Qadri
High Court chief justices have been ordered to establish a special bench to fast-track the resolution of criminal cases involving legislators.
India's top court issued a slew of directions on Thursday to monitor the early disposal of pending criminal cases against members of legislative assemblies (MLAs) and members of parliaments (MPs)..
It also directed that courts should prioritise cases with a death sentence or life imprisonment as maximum punishment. A guilty verdict in murder cases leads to either the death penalty or life term for the convicts.
“The special Bench may list the matter at regular intervals as felt necessary. The high court chief justices may issue such orders and directions as necessary for expeditious and effective disposal of the cases,” said the three Judges bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, also comprising justices PS Narasimha and Manoj Misra.
The top court further noted that establishing uniform guidelines that can be applied to all states is a challenging task for the Supreme Court. High Courts should evolve effective mechanisms to deal with cases involving lawmakers.
Currently, 5,175 cases are pending across various trial courts in the country against MPs and MLAs, more than 40 percent (approx 2,116) of these cases have been pending for more than five years.