States Can’t Withdraw Criminal Cases Against Legislators: Supreme Court

States Can't Withdraw Criminal Cases Against Legislators: Supreme Court

New Delhi:

The state governments cannot withdraw pending criminal cases against MPs and MLAs without the approval of the high courts, the Supreme Court said today, adding that a special bench will soon be constituted to monitor the progress of such cases against the legislators.

The special courts judges, hearing cases against the MPs and MLAs, will not be transferred until further orders, a three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana, said. Justices Vineet Saran and Surya Kant are other members on the bench.

It directed the Registrar Generals of all the high courts to provide information, in a particular format, about the cases decided by special courts against the lawmakers. It has also sought the details of pending cases and their stages before the trial courts.

The top court was hearing a PIL from 2016 filed by lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay on fast-tracking of criminal trials against lawmakers. The plea also sought a life ban on convicted politicians from contesting polls.

Senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, assisting the court as Amicus Curiae, informed that  Uttar Pradesh seeks to withdraw 76 cases against BJP MLAs, including those accused in Muzaffarnagar riot cases. In Karnataka, the state government is seeking to withdraw 61 cases against legislators.

Maharashtra and Uttarakhand are also seeking to withdraw cases against legislators.

The CBI came in for sharp criticism from the Supreme Court for not filing status report on pending cases against legislators.

“It seems the government is not concerned with this issue. The CBI is reluctant to file status reports. If you (Centre ) are reluctant to file status reports how can we presume you are concerned with cases against MP/MLAs,” Chief Justice Ramana said.

The premier investigating agency has been asked to file a status report within 10 days.

The CJI also said that the Enforcement Directorate status report also does not have much information.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the centre and CBI, told the top court that government is committed to speed up cases against legislators and there was some issues at his end and requested for last opportunity to file status report on behalf of the CBI.

The bench said the case has been pending for a long time and despite several adjournments CBI is yet to file its report.

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