The Centre has told the Supreme Court that 11 states have issued notifications for setting up of 12 special courts to exclusively deal with cases involving politicians.
The Union Ministry of Law and Justice, in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, said while two special courts are to be established in Delhi, one each would be established in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh.
Out of the 12 special courts, six have been set up at the sessions court level, five at the magistrate level while the class of the Court in Tamil Nadu has not been indicated, it said.
“The territorial jurisdiction of these special courts is covering the entire state whereas the territorial jurisdiction of two special courts set up in Delhi are for the offences committed in Delhi or partly in Delhi. As per the information available to this Ministry, the total number of cases transferred, disposed of and pending in these Special Courts are 1233, 136 and 1097 respectively,” the affidavit added.
The Ministry told the top court that states where the criminal cases against MPs and MLAs are less than 65, regular courts will be trying them on a fast-track mode.
With regard to the setting up of courts in addition to the 12 notified, the Centre said the High Courts of Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Patna, Calcutta and Kerala have negated any such requirement, while the Bombay High Court has expressed the requirement for additional courts without specifying any particular number,” it said.
The Centre also submitted that the High Courts of Madras, Hyderabad and Allahabad have not furnished any information and the Delhi High Court has left the matter to the discretion of the government.
The Ministry has sought a direction that additional courts, if required, should be set up and made functional from the financial, manpower and infrastructural resources available with the state governments, as these are to be set up and operationalised by the concerned states.
On November 1 last year, the bench had asked the Centre “how many of the 1,581 cases involving Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and Members of Parliament (MPs) (as declared at the time of filing of the nomination papers to the 2014 elections) have been disposed of within the time frame of one year as envisaged by this court by order dated March 10, 2014….”.
“How many of these cases which have been finally decided have ended in acquittal/conviction of MPs and MLAs, as may be,” the court had asked the Centre, adding, “Between 2014 and 2017 (as on date) whether any further criminal case(s) has been lodged against any present or former legislator (MP/MLA) and, if so, the detail(s) thereof, including detail(s) with regard to the disposal of such case (s)”.
In December last year, the apex court had perused the additional affidavit filed by the Centre in the matter in which the government had proposed the setting up of 12 special courts to deal with the cases involving politicians and had said that Rs 7.8 crore would be earmarked for it.
The top court’s order was passed on a petition filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking to declare the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, which bar convicted politician from contesting elections for six years after serving jail term, as ultra vires of the Constitution.