india

4,984 cases against lawmakers pending for over 5 years: report

Rising number of persons with criminal records are now MPs, MLAs, SC told

Nearly 5,000 criminal cases against Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assemblies have been pending in courts across the country for more than five years, showing that a growing number of persons with criminal antecedents are occupying seats in Parliament and the State assemblies, a report in the Supreme Court has said.

“Despite a series of directions by this court and continuous monitoring, as many as 4,984 cases are pending out of which 1,899 cases are more than five years old,” the report, filed by the Supreme Court’s amicus curiae Vijay Hansaria and advocate Sneha Kalita, revealed.

The report flags the steady growth of the presence of criminality in the highest portals of legislature.

“The total number of cases pending as on December 2018 were 4,110; and as on October 2020 were 4,859. Even after disposal of 2,775 cases after December 4, 2018, the cases against MPs/MLAs have increased from 4,122 to 4,984. This shows that more and more persons with criminal antecedents are occupying the seats in Parliament and the State Legislative Assemblies,” the report said.

The report urged the court that it was of “utmost necessity that urgent and stringent steps are taken for expeditious disposal of pending criminal cases”.

It said the Special Courts constituted in “some states” for exclusively trying criminal cases against MPs and MLAs are not able to focus their time on these cases.

“Special Courts are constituted in some of the states whereas, in other states, the respective jurisdictions courts are conducting trials in terms of the directions passed from time to time. These jurisdictional courts conduct the trial of the cases against MPs/MLAs along with discharging other roster allocated to them. In many of the States, the same judge is a Special Court under various statutes such as SC/ST Act, POCSO Act, etc,” the report pointed out.

It said there has been no response from the Centre as regards expeditious investigation/ trial of cases, providing infrastructure facilities to the courts and constitution of a monitoring committee to evaluate the reasons for delay of investigation.

“It is necessary that all the courts trying cases against MPs/MLAs are equipped with necessary infrastructure for conduct of court proceedings through Internet facility,” the amicus suggested in the report.

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