Saturday, 18 November, 2017

Coming soon, special courts to hear criminal cases of political leaders

Give life ban to convicted MPs MLAs from contesting polls Election Commission to Supreme Court EC proposes life ban for convicted MPs, MLAs in SC
Saul Franklin | 03 November, 2017, 01:04

The court was hearing a petition filed by BJP leader Ashwani Upadhyay, seeking that all convicted politicians be barred from electoral politics for life.

Upadhyay sought lifetime bans on convicted politicians from contesting elections.

It has also sought more details on the 1,581 cases registered against MLAs and MPs, and a report within six weeks on the idea of setting up special courts that can dispose of such cases within a year.

THE SUPREME Court on Tuesday wanted to know the rate of conviction of politicians in criminal cases and whether its direction to finish trial against lawmakers within a year was being followed.

Asking the Election Commission for its response on the matter as it previously kept quiet on the issue, Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sharma pulled up the commission asking whether it was "constrained" to share its view.

The court sought the government frame a scheme for setting up of such courts exclusively to deal with criminal cases involving political persons on the lines of the Fast Track Courts which were set up for a period of five years but extended, though now the scheme stands discontinued.

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Meanwhile, the SC directed the Centre to create special courts to expedite trials of politicians.

According to the declarations made by candidates who filed nomination papers for the 2014 elections, there were 1,581 lawmakers who were facing criminal cases. The bench said the trials against MPs and MLAs must be mandatorily concluded within a year and "this is in the interest of the nation".

A more recent study from the group also said that as many as 51 MPs and MLAs have declared cases of crime against women, including of alleged rape and abduction. "In some cases it takes 20 years for the person to be convicted and, by this time, he must have served four terms as a legislator". "Either you can say yes or no".

The Court also sought details on how numerous 1581 cases involving Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and Members of Parliament have been disposed of within the time frame of one year as envisaged by the order of the Supreme Court dated March 10, 2014.

Additional solicitor general Atmaram Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre, said that the government was not averse to setting up special courts and added that it was a subject related to states. Even after conviction and undergoing sentence, a convicted person can form his own political party and is eligible to become the office bearer of any political party.

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