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

Nupur Thapliyal
6 Jan 2021 10:45 AM GMT
This Matter Has To Get Precedence Madras HC Orders For A Comprehensive Roadmap For Clearing Pending Criminal Cases Against MPs And MLAs
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A division bench of Madras High Court comprising of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice senthilkumar Ramamoorthy on Tuesday observed that a comprehensive road map must be made considering the "litigative resourcefulness" of the legislators against whom cases are pending in the trial courts and High Court to ensure that the cases are disposed of at the earliest. The...

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A division bench of Madras High Court comprising of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice senthilkumar Ramamoorthy on Tuesday observed that a comprehensive road map must be made considering the "litigative resourcefulness" of the legislators against whom cases are pending in the trial courts and High Court to ensure that the cases are disposed of at the earliest.

The bench was hearing a petition wherein the Court had taken suo moto cognizance for monitoring the progress of pending criminal cases against state MPs and MLAs in the trial courts and High Court for ensuring full compliance of the directions of the Apex Court in as provided in Ashiwini Kumar Upadhyay & Ors. v. Union of India (2020).

BACKGROUND OF THE SUO MOTO PETITION

The High Court vide order dated 01.12.2020 had registered a suo moto writ petition in view of the directions given in the orders passed by the Supreme Court in Ashiwini Kumar Upadhyay case wherein the Court observed that each high court must assign pending criminal cases against MPs and MLAs to sessions and magisterial courts so as to expedite their disposal.

Pursuant to the directions of the Apex Court, the matter was placed before the Criminal Rules Committee, which is an advisory arm to the Supreme Court, a three member committee, wherein a report was submitted on 05.10.2020. in furtherance of the same, the Supreme Court vide order dated 06.10.2020 directed that:

"After perusing the materials placed on record, we are of the opinion that further information from the High Courts is required to provide more with respect to the number of Special Courts required for expeditious disposal of pending criminal cases against sitting or former legislators (MPs and MLAs). With an objective of collating uniform data, we have annexed a tentative format along with this order. The High Courts are directed to furnish details according to the annexed format by 19.10.2020, with the liberty to provide additional information if necessary, to the Secretary General of this Court."

ORDER DATED 01.12.2020

In compliance of the directions, the High Court of Madras prepared data in the prescribed format describing the numbers of pending criminal cases against the legislators and came to a conclusion that a total of 107 cases were pending before the High Court alone (91 before the Principal Seat at Madras and 16 before the Bench of Madurai).

Therefore, looking at the gravity of the situation, the High Court vide order dated 01.12.2020 issued the following directions:

  • That the pending cases must be listed on top priority.
  • That at least 10 cases must be heard every day on rotation basis.
  • That the Registrar of the Court is directed to report the progress of the outcomes of listing on the next date of hearing i.e. 05.01.2021.
  • That the Registrar is also directed to issue a copy of the order to all subordinate courts and ensure the compliance of the directions issued by the Supreme Court.
  • That the subordinate courts shall fix these cases on priority and report the progress to Registrar General to be placed before the High Court.

OBSERVATION OF THE COURT

The Bench while noting the importance and seriousness of the matter observed that the Court will not tolerate the unnecessary pendency of the case pending against legislators and that every attempt will be made by the High Court to ensure that such cases are disposed of at earliest.

"A comprehensive road-map ought to be chartered out, taking into account the litigative resourcefulness of the legislators and the affinity to delay the trials so as to ensure the early disposal of the criminal cases in accordance with law." The bench ordered.

The bench also directed that the report prepared by the High Court on the pendency of such cases to be immediately forwarded to the office of Advocate General of the State. The bench also directed that the Additional Solicitor General of India must be served with the copies of reports and orders of the High Court when he appears on the next date of hearing.

"The State has been requested to augment the judiciary's resources, if necessary, for immediate effective steps being taken for the early disposal of matters pending against past and present legislators." The bench observed.

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

Order dated: 05.01.2021

Next date of hearing: 11.01.2021

Click Here To Download Order

[Read Order]




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