Courts told to clear corruption backlog
In its bid to put in place a concrete anti-corruption mechanism, the government has asked the chief justices of all 21 high courts in the country to fast track pending graft-related cases by ensuring decisions are taken within a definite time period.
Following the setting up of a nine-member group of ministers (GoM) to finalise a framework to tackle corruption, law minister M Veerappa Moily, in his letter to the chief justices, has recommended cases of corruption in high courts and lower courts be given top priority.
The seven issues being looked into by the GoM headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, include time-bound disposal of corruption cases involving public servants.The issue was first raised by the Congress president Sonia Gandhi during the party's plenary session last month. She had asked for fast tracking of "all cases concerning corruption, including politicians".
Moily has told the chief justices that "while dealing with the pendency of cases in courts, cases of corruption" should be their main focus.
"The government wants to monitor cases of corruption pending in courts, especially in high courts and below, so these can be decided within a limited time frame."
In his letter, the minister has pointed out that the Centre has set up 71 special CBI courts to fast track such cases and other offences probed by the top investigating agencies.
"In some states, special lokayukta courts and other designated courts have been set-up to decide corruption cases quickly," he said.
Moily wrote, "I would seek to benefit from your views on whether the number of courts are adequate and what further needs to be done immediately to ensure time bound decisions in such cases."
Chief Justice of India (CJI), Justice SH Kapadia had last month asked chief justices of all the HCs to "ensure cases in respect of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, be fast tracked and be taken up for hearing on priority basis both at the high courts and district levels."
Currently, there is no separate record of the number of pending corruption cases.
The total number of pending cases in India is above three crore.