Bihar's path-breaking new law that allows for confiscation of ill-gotten property of public servants is all set to turn the heat on the state's corrupt Babus and Netas.
If all goes well, six special courts prescribed to the specifications of the Bihar Special Courts Act 2010 would start functioning in about three weeks.
"The Patna High Court standing committee has already approved the state government's proposal for setting up the special courts. It can safely be said that the courts will start functioning by the first week of May," Advocate General PK Shahi told Hindustan Times.
Shahi said government had sanctioned the full infrastructure, including the clerical members of the support staff, for setting up two special courts each at three places - namely, Patna, Muzaffarpur and Bhagalpur.
"The special courts will be notified on the receipt of the High Court's formal consent and on its advice. We expect the secretarial communication in this regard to reach us within a day or two," he stated.
Once the special courts are notified, the government would expeditiously request the High Court to name the presiding judges for these courts.
Existing disproportionate assets cases transfer:
The Advocate General confirmed all cases registered under Section 13 (1) (e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act would be transferred for trial to the special courts set up under the new law.
"Not all trap, illegal gratification cases will come under the purview of the new law. Only the cases in which possession of assets disproportionate to an accused person's known sources of income is established and Section 13 (1) (e) applied, will be tried by the new special courts," he explained.
Confiscation of property: Shahi said two types of courts would function under the new law. "One type of court will try the accused u/s Section 13 (1) (e). The other type will be a Prescribed Authority, which will examine and adjudicate on the prosecution's plea for confiscation of property. The same court or judge may or may not be notified to carry out both the functions".
He said on production of evidence by the prosecution, the Prescribed Authority would issue a month's notice to the accused to show why the 'Disproportionate Asset' should not be confiscated.
"If convinced and after consulting an authorised valuer, the Authority will be free to order the confiscation of the property that will then vest in the government. If the accused is acquitted later, the property or its equivalent value will be restored to the person," the Advocate General explained.