SC seek details of 1581 cases against politicians

Trevor Jackson
November 3, 2017

Perhaps irked by these and other instances, a Supreme Court bench of Justices, justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha, asked the Central government to proffer details of all the 1,581 cases that MPs and MLAs had declared before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

The Election Commission has said on Wednesday that there should be a life term ban on convicted parliamentarians and MLAs from contesting elections.

On Additional Solicitor General Atmaram Nadkarni's request, the court allowed the Centre six weeks to submit details of the scheme, Indian Express reported.

The matter has now been listed for December 13, 2017.

The bench directed the Centre to also show the developments and procedure in establishing special courts and also indicate the amount of funds that could be earmarked for the objective.

Justice Gogoi, in his preliminary remarks, observed that all these issues can be addressed if cases against politicians are dealt by special courts, exclusively set up for the goal. This was done with the aim to ascertain whether criminal trial against MPs/MLAs was being concluded within one year, as ordered by the apex court on March 10, 2014.

Petitioner Ashwini Kumar Upadhyaya had earlier told the apex court that 1,581 MPs and MLAs have criminal cases pending against them according to affidavits filed during the 2014 parliamentary and Assembly elections.

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She also favoured special courts to fast track pending criminal cases.

Under the current law, a legislator is debarred for six years from contesting elections once he is convicted for heinous or moral offences. SC wants to ensure that the corrupt politicians should not succeed in prolonging the trial by using their offices.

Senior counsel Meenakshi Arora, appearing for the EC, said the Commission supported the petitioner to the extent that there should be de-criminalisation of politics.

Justice Gogoi said that the petition seeking swift trial of lawmakers has arisen because convictions are not taking place.

On Tuesday, the court also wanted to know as to how many lawmakers in the parliament were facing criminal cases and the charges that have been levelled against them, and was told that 34 per cent of the sitting MPs, or a total of 184, faced criminal cases.

The recommendations of the Election Commission and the Law Commission advocating life-time disqualification of politicians convicted in criminal cases was under the active consideration of the government, the Centre informed the bench.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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