NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the state governments to put in place a mechanism to expedite the cases against MPs and MLAs.
According to sources, the move comes under the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had promised to decriminalise Indian politics if voted to power.
“I will not spare anyone who is corrupt, or has a criminal background,” Modi had said, during an election rally in Hardoin, UP, in April 2014.
Within a month of the NDA taking charge, Home Secretary Anil Goswami had shot off a letter to all the states and UTs, advising them to hold daily trials of such cases by appointing a special public prosecutor.
Goswami said trials should conclude expeditiously as possible. If a sitting MP or MLA is convicted of charges listed under Sections 8(1), 8(2), and 8(3) of the Representation of the People Act (RPA), then he or she would be disqualified, and the seat declared vacant.
Modi,in his first speech in the Rajya Sabha on June 11, had said, “When parties see seats beempty, they will get the message,” adding that in five years, Parliament will be taint-free.
The MHA said the prosecution must ensure highest priority for these cases and the trial should not be delayed due to lack of documents or want of production of witness.
According to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), at least 53 newly elected MPs are facing criminal cases under Sections 8(1) and 8(3) of the RPA. Some cases have been pending for nearly 10 years.