Speed up cases against MPs and MLAs: Rajnath

RSTV Bureau

rajnath_singhThe Home Ministry has asked all state governments to speed up cases against MPs and MLAs facing charges which attract disqualification, directing them to seek day-to-day trial in courts, appoint special public prosecutors and ensure regular monitoring.

The direction came in the wake of Supreme Court setting a deadline to complete trial in cases involving lawmakers.

The step is also in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s direction on July 24 asking the Home Minister and Law Minister to work out a mechanism to settle cases against politicians within a year to cleanse politics from tainted lawmakers.

Quoting the Supreme Court directive, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami have written separate letters to Chief Ministers and Chief Secretaries of all states and Union Territories advising them to take action for ensuring the compliance of the directions of the apex court to complete the trial against sitting MPs and MLAs who have charges framed against them that attract disqualification.

Any sentence which attracts punishment of two years and above can lead to disqualification from Parliament or state legislature.

According to a March 10, 2014 direction of the Supreme Court, cases against MPs and MLAs which attract disqualification under Section 8(1), 8(2) and 8(3) of the Representation of the People Act needed to be completed within one year of framing charges.

“Once any case has been identified then the Assistant Public Prosecutors/ Public Prosecutors will move a prayer before the concerned magistrate/ sessions judge seeking a fast track trial of the case on a day-to-day basis in compliance with the above mentioned order of the Supreme Court,” the letter to the states said.

The Home Minister and Home Secretary said that in case there is a shortage of prosecutors, then the state should appoint a Special Public Prosecutor to ensure that the case is not delayed for want of a prosecutor.

“It would be best that the Home Secretary of the State/ UT reviews the status of these cases at regular intervals,” it said.

A District level coordination committee may be constituted for monitoring these cases. It should be headed by District and Sessions Judge,The DM/DC and SP should be members of this committee and the Public Prosecutor should be its secretary.

“At the metropolitan level, a suitable monitoring mechanism may be evolved involving the judiciary, police and prosecution,” Goswami’s letter said.