The Supreme Court on Monday directed that the trial in all the criminal offences involving sitting members of parliament and legislatures should be concluded within one year by holding it on a day to day basis.
The apex court bench headed by Justice R M Lodha said the offences for which trial has to conclude within one year are those mentioned under Sections 8 (1), 8 (2) and 8 (3) of the Representation of People Act.
The court said in the cases where the trial could not be concluded due to special, extraordinary circumstances, it will be communicated to the chief justice of the high court concerned with reasons. The chief justice in turn will issue appropriate directions, extending time.
The court direction came on a petition by Public Interest Foundation which sought to decriminalise the electoral politics in the country.
The Supreme Court had last year struck down as ultra vires a provision of the Representation of the People Act which protects a convicted lawmakers against disqualification on the ground of pendency of appeal against their conviction in the higher courts.
Later, in another path-breaking verdict to prevent criminal elements from entering Parliament and state assemblies, the apex court ruled that only an "elector" can contest the polls and he/she ceases the right to cast vote due to confinement in prison or being in custody of police.
Three MPs have so far been disqualified in the wake of the SC ruling
- Rasheed Masood
Masood, a Congress MP in Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh, was disqualified after being convicted for 4 years in MBBS seats scam. Masood became the first lawmaker to lose his seat as per the Supreme Court ruling.
- Lalu Prasad Yadav
The RJD chief was convicted for 5 years in Fodder scam. He was an MP from Saran in Bihar. The former Chief Minister of Bihar and Union Railway Minister, stands disqualified for a total of 11 years - five years of jail term and six years subsequent to his release.
- Jagdish Sharma
Sharma, an RJD MP in Lok Sabha from Jahanabad is convicted for 4 years in Fodder scam. Sharma stands disqualified for 10 years - four years in jail and six more years after that as per electoral laws.
(With PTI inputs)