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Special Courts For Legislators: SC Will Continue Hearing Tomorrow

Radhika Roy
4 March 2020 5:01 PM GMT
Special Courts For Legislators: SC Will Continue Hearing Tomorrow
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Today the Supreme Court heard the PIL by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay on lifetime debarment of convicted persons from electoral politics and for the constitution of Special Courts to decide criminal cases related to Legislatures, Executive and members of Judiciary within one year. 

The Bench headed by Justice NV Ramana was hearing the matter, while Senior Advocate Vijay Hansaria put forth his suggestions as the amicus curiae appointed for the case. He requested for the Special Courts to be set up on an experimental basis and brought up the example of the State of Orissa to drive home the point that rosters were clogged.

Hansaria also stated that in order for him to implement the suggestions, he required district-wise figures regarding the number of alleged legislators facing lifetime ban. He submitted that issues such as preparing of forensic reports and witness protection took time. For this reason, Special Courts were required.

On being asked by Justice Ramana about whether all cases against the Legislators were handled by the CBI, Hansaria responded in negative. "There are multiple cases. Rape cases, murder cases etc. They are handled by different authorities."

Senior Advocate Dinesh Dwivedi attempted to bring up the issue of one of the prayers in the matter regarding the lifetime ban from electoral politics sought for convicted persons. The Bench stated that both the issues will be heard tomorrow.

The PIL, filed in 2016, claims that "apart from terrorism and naxalism, the most serious problem faced by our country is corruption and criminalization of the politics. At times, the concern has been expressed against this obnoxious cancerous growth proving lethal to electoral politics."

The plea squarely blames the Parliament for not making serious efforts to amend the Indian Penal Code and the Representation of People Act.

"The Court has said in unequivocal terms that it wants to prevent criminalization of politics. It says, those who break the law should not be allowed to make the law. Actually, the roots of the problem lie in the political system of the country. There is lack of political will to combat the problem. The political parties also do not believe in higher ethical norms, that's why they are not making efforts to prevent criminalization of politics."

Reliance is placed on the fact that in the case of Executive as well as Judiciary, when a person in convicted of any criminal offence, they are suspended automatically and debarred from the services for lifetime. The plea seeks to apply the uniform policy of disqualification to the legislature as well.

In 2018, the matter had been taken up by a Bench headed by former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices UU Lalit and KM Joseph.
Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta had stated that the government had no objection in setting up of Special Courts for trying of matters with respect to elected representatives.

The matter will be heard tomorrow.

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