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SC seeks status of special courts set up to try politicians

A bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi told the government lawyer that it wants to know whether the special courts were headed by a magistrate or a sessions judge.

india Updated: Aug 21, 2018 23:37 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
Supreme Court,Special courts,SC
File photo of Supreme Court. (Sonu Mehta/HT Photo)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre as to how many special courts have been constituted to exclusively hear and decide cases against politicians.

A bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi told the government lawyer that it wants to know whether the special courts were headed by a magistrate or a sessions judge. Also, information regarding the territorial jurisdiction of such courts needs to be disclosed.

Justice Gogoi’s court had on December 14 ordered setting up of 12 special courts to deal with cases involving politicians and had given March 1, 2018 deadline.

A break-up of cases pending before these courts has to be furnished as per the court’s order. The judges even want to know if government intends to set-up more such courts. Centre has time till August 28 to file its response.

On behalf of the Delhi High Court, advocate ADN Rao submitted that two special courts — one sessions and one magisterial — have already been set up. But, the bench asked the Registrar General of the HC to file an affidavit indicating further details in this regard, including the number of cases transferred to these two special courts. The court was hearing a petition filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyaya who has asked for a life ban on convicted politicians. Upadhyay told the bench that the Centre had filed an affidavit in the matter but he had not received copy of it. The government document was filed in March this year.

While referring to the Centre’s affidavit, the court observed that it contained “incomplete information” as the government has said they was compiling the information received from the states.

The bench also asked the Centre to give a response on the queries it had posed on November 1 last year. The court had then wanted to know as to “how many of 1,581 cases involving Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and Members of Parliament (MPs) (as declared at the time of filing of the nomination papers to the 2014 elections) have been disposed of within the time frame of one year as envisaged by this court by order dated March 10, 2014.” SC had in 2014 ordered speedy trial of cases against lawmakers. The court had also asked as to how many cases finally decided have ended in acquittal or conviction of MPs and MLAs.

Another query raised by the bench was regarding the number of criminal cases lodged against present or former lawmaker between 2014 and 2017.

First Published: Aug 21, 2018 23:35 IST