New Delhi: The Centre on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that so far 12 special courts have been set up in 11 states to try exclusively the pending 2,466 criminal cases against MPs/MLAs with a view to expediting the disposal within one year.
The Centre in an affidavit said one special court each has been established in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal and two courts in National Capital Territory of Delhi.
The affidavit was filed in response to the direction issued on August 30 when the court pulled up the Centre for not giving data as to the number of criminal courts/cases pending against MPs and MLAs in various courts despite repeated directions.
Acting on a PIL filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhyay seeking setting up of fast track courts to try criminal cases against politicians and to complete the trial within one year, the apex court in December 2017 directed setting up of special courts.
On August 21 the last date of hearing, the bench had directed the Centre to expedite setting up of special courts to exclusively try legislators — MPs and MLAs against whom criminal cases are pending and file a status report by Tuesday specifying the number of cases pending before the already set up courts.
The Centre said of the 12 special courts that have been set up, six are at sessions court level, five at magistrate level and as far as Tamil Nadu is concerned it has not indicated the status of the one court. The territorial jurisdiction of these courts would cover the entire state concerned. It said 2,466 cases are pending/disposed of in these courts.
It said in the remaining states where the criminal cases of MPs/MLAs are less than 65 and these cases will be tried in regular courts in fast track mode. The Centre has issued advisories to all these remaining states to dispose of the cases expeditiously. The Centre is regularly taking up the matter with the state governments and the high courts.
Regarding additional courts over and above those already set up, the Centre said the high courts of Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Patna, Calcutta and Kerala have informed that there is no requirement of additional courts. Bombay high court has expressed the need for additional courts but had not specified the number. The high courts of Madras, Hyderabad (for the states of AP and Telangana) and Allahabad have not furnished information in this regard while Delhi high court has left the matter to be decided by the Centre.
The Centre said despite its constant efforts there are still some high courts and state governments who have not responded with the requisite information and data in time. Therefore the information, which is being presented, is not complete, the affidavit pointed out.
It sought a direction from the apex court to all the high courts and states to present up-to-date information regarding number of cases transferred to the special courts from regular courts; those being tried in district and subordinate courts; cases disposed off; conviction/acq-uittal as the case may be.