The Supreme Court has upped the ante on the States, Union Territories and High Courts which have not provided it with details of criminal cases pending against sitting lawmakers, warning that their Chief Secretaries and Registrars General will be made personally liable for non-compliance.
The apex court had on December 14 last year ordered special courts to be established to fast-track the long-pending trials against MPs and MLAs in a bid to weed out corruption and criminality in politics. So far, the center has set up 12 special courts to deal with such cases.
There are several high-profile cases against leaders from almost all political parties—regional and national where investigations have dragged on for years and those facing trial have evaded prison.
The Centre’s decision could be a setback to politicians who, despite facing serious charges, have remained members of Parliament and state assemblies due to the time consumed in trials. Such cases will fall in the purview of special courts and their fate will be decided expeditiously.
The court has given 11 States/Union Territories (UTs) and the High Courts of Karnataka, Kerala, and Tripura a deadline of four weeks to comply with its September 12 order.
The order has called on States/UTs to furnish data to determine the number of special courts to be set up across the country to exclusively try accused legislators.
The States/UTs which have not complied with the September 12 order are Goa, Himachal Pradesh Meghalaya, Mizoram, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu and Lakshadweep.