NEW DELHI: Stressing that the need of the hour is to expeditiously dispose pending cases against tainted politicians, the Supreme Court has asked high courts to review within two months of all such cases where trials have been stayed.
The SC has also said chief justices of high courts shall designate a special bench, comprising themselves and their designate, to monitor the progress of the trials against sitting and former MPs and MLAs. A bench headed by Justice N V Ramana, released the order on Thursday and lamented that there has been no substantial improvement in the situation when it comes to disposal of pending criminal cases against sitting/former legislators - MPs and MLAs.
The bench has now asked the chief justices of all HCs to list forthwith such criminal cases which have failed to proceed because of the higher court orders. “We request the HCs to list forthwith all pending criminal cases involving sitting/MPs and MLAs), particularly those wherein a stay has been granted, before an appropriate benches comprising of the learned Chief Justice and/or their designates,” the court said.
The HC must first decide whether the stay granted, if any, should continue, keeping in view the apex court’s judgment of 2018. This judgment had held that if a case has been stayed for more than six months by the high court, the trial court may resume proceedings notwithstanding the stay. “In the event that a stay is considered necessary, the court should hear the matter on a daily basis and dispose of the same expeditiously,” the order reads. The SC said the pandemic should not be an impediment to the compliance of this direction, as these matters could be heard via video conferencing.
Politicians facing trials
According to the statistics submitted in the SC by amicus curiae and senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, politicians are facing criminal trials in 4,442 cases. Of these, MPs and MLAs are undertrials in
as many as 2,556 such matters.