The Madras High Court has dismissed the petitions filed by Congress MP Karti Chidambaram and his wife Srinidhi to quash two criminal complaints under the Income Tax Act and the trial proceedings in respect of them in the Special Courts for MPs/MLAs.
Justice M. Sundar observed that the issues raised in the criminal complaints are matters for trial and no ground has been made out for quashing the same.
The judgment elaborately dealt with the plea challenging transfer of two criminal cases from EO court to Sessions Court. The Court dealt with the contention that transferee court does not have original jurisdiction, that only one of the petitioners has become M.P, that he was also neither a sitting nor former M.P/M.L.A on the date of complaint and that petitioners have been deprived of one tier of remedy by transfer from EO Court to Sessions Court. In this regard, the judge observed:
With regard to standing trial in a Magistrate Court and standing trial in a Sessions Court, the lone difference projected before this Court pertains to further revision under section 397 Cr.P.C post appeal against conviction, if that be so. As the law is clear that revision is not a right unlike an appeal, this lone difference being canvassed as a ground by petitioners gets obliterated. The result is, in the cases on hand, as far as petitioners are concerned, there is no difference in standing trial in a Magistrate Court and standing trial in Sessions Court.
The court also said that no prejudice has been demonstrated by Karti and his wife owing to being asked to stand trial in a Sessions Court.
The Court observed that the Government should have designated more Metropolitan Magistrate Courts in Chennai, if the already designated II Metropolitan Magistrate Court is overburdened. The Court, thus, suggested the Government to designate one or more Metropolitan Magistrate/s in Chennai for trying criminal cases related to elected M.Ps/M.L.As, in accordance with the directives of Supreme Court in Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay case.
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