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Cases Against MPs/MLAs: Madras High Court Mulls Constitution Of Committee To Set Up Additional Infrastructure For Expeditious Disposal

Akshita Saxena
22 Jan 2021 12:28 PM GMT
Cases Against MPs/MLAs: Madras High Court Mulls Constitution Of Committee To Set Up Additional Infrastructure For Expeditious Disposal
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The Madras High Court has observed that in order to expedite the hearing of criminal cases against MPs/ MLAs in Trial Courts, specific times on a daily or weekly basis need to be allotted, irrespective of whatever other business the relevant Court may have. The High Court further observed that it is necessary to constitute an appropriate Committee at the High Court level to look...

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The Madras High Court has observed that in order to expedite the hearing of criminal cases against MPs/ MLAs in Trial Courts, specific times on a daily or weekly basis need to be allotted, irrespective of whatever other business the relevant Court may have.

The High Court further observed that it is necessary to constitute an appropriate Committee at the High Court level to look into the additional infrastructure which may be necessary and how soon such infrastructure can be set up to meaningfully proceed with complaints against legislators and resultant cases.

'This Matter Has To Get Precedence' Madras HC Orders For A Comprehensive Roadmap For Clearing Pending Criminal Cases Against MPs And MLAs

The observation was made by a Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy while hearing a suo moto petition for monitoring pending criminal cases against MPs and MLAs in the trial courts and the High Court, for ensuring full compliance of the directions given by the Apex Court in Ashiwini Kumar Upadhyay & Ors. v. Union of India (2020).

On a previous posting of the case, the Bench had expressed regret over unnecessary pendency of cases against legislators. It had inter alia directed that pending cases against legislators must be listed on 'top priority' and at least such 10 cases must be heard every day, on rotation basis.

On January 11, the Bench was informed that at High Court, a Single Bench has already been designated for the purpose of dealing with revisional petitions arising out of matters pertaining to legislators.

However, at Trial Courts, additional infrastructure needs to be created so that the cases can be taken up and disposed of as expeditiously as possible.

The Advocate-General raised the following issues:

  • the extra Sessions Court in Chennai exclusively created for the purpose of taking matters against legislators lies vacant for a considerable period of time;
  • Special Courts designated at the District Judge level or the Judicial Magistrate level are preoccupied with other business and do not have adequate time to devote to matters against legislators.

In this backdrop, the bench ordered:

"Appropriate steps should immediately be taken for filling up the vacant post in the Special Sessions Court in Chennai…

As far as the District Judiciary is concerned, specific times on a daily or weekly basis need to be allotted by such Courts to ensure that legislators' matters are taken up during such time, irrespective of whatever other business the relevant Court may have."

So far as the High Court is concerned, the Bench expressed that if necessary, other works assigned to the Single Bench designated to hear revision petitions arising out of such cases, should be lightened to ensure that legislators' matters get precedence and are not delayed.

Case Title: Suo Moto W.P. No. 16154 of 2020

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