New Delhi: Pointing out that a large number of cases were pending against sitting and former MPs and MLAs, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said one of the reasons for the situation was that police did not at times enforce laws under pressure from the lawmakers.
The observation was made by a bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose, while hearing a PIL filed by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay to seek speedy disposal of criminal cases pending against members of Parliament and members of the Legislative Assemblies.
The bench also asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, that the Union government should take a call on the speedy disposal of these cases.
The bench noted that the High Courts have also asked for videoconferencing facilities for the speedy disposal of pending cases. The bench asked Mehta to take instructions from authorities concerned on the issue of financing in the matter.
In response, Mehta said that the funding for videoconference facility would not be an issue and suggested that the top court issue directions to the Director General of Police in each state to ensure timely summonses.
The bench, after a brief hearing in the matter, adjourned it for next week and noted that in the meanwhile, the High Courts could send their recommendations and action plans to the officials concerned.
A report filed by Senior Advocate Vijay Hansaria in the apex court said that 4,859 cases were pending against sitting and former lawmakers, denoting a jump of over 400 cases since March when it was 4,442.
“Some High Courts have sought directions for the conduct of trials through videoconferences, where the accused/witnesses are in another district/state, without the requirement of physical presence of the accused/witnesses,” said the report.
The report also gave a detailed break-up of cases pending against sitting and former lawmakers in all the states. As many as 1,374 cases are pending in Uttar Pradesh, followed by 557 in Bihar.
The report said that all High Courts have favoured the establishment of safe and secure ‘Witness Examination Rooms’ with videoconference facility, but cited lack of infrastructure and non-availability of funds for the purpose.
“Videoconference rules have been framed by most High Courts whereas others are in the process of finalising the same… the High Courts have recommended appointment of Nodal Prosecution Officer and Special Public Prosecutor for each of the courts and written to the state governments in this regard,” the report added.
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