The Supreme Court on Tuesday posted for next week hearing in a plea seeking to debar convicted Members of Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies from contesting elections for life.
A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli and JB Pardiwala said that it will hear the matter next week as it was hearing other matters.
Senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, who was appointed amicus curiae to assist the top court in the matter, told the bench, “I am requesting, some urgent orders are required.”
The bench said it will hear the matter next week.
A recent status report submitted before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) stated that there are 51 MPs and 71 MLAs, sitting and former, who stand accused by the agency of offense under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The report does not specify exactly how many of those are sitting MPs/MLAs and how many are former MPs/ MLAs.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has also submitted a similar report stating that a total of 121 cases are pending trial against sitting and former MPs and MLAs.
The number of MPs involved in those cases is 51 out of which 14 are sitting, 37 are former and 5 are deceased. The report further stated that 112 MLAs are involved in CBI cases out of which 34 are sitting, 78 are former and 9 are deceased.
The number of cases pending investigation against MPs and MLAs by the CBI is 37, the report of the CBI submitted.
Hansaria also filed a report pursuant to an order passed by the court seeking a status report relating to the pendency and grant of sanctions for prosecution, the expected time for completion of the investigation, and reasons for the delay in the same.
In his report Hansaria highlighted a “glaring case of inordinate delay” in the trial of cases against lawmakers, submitting that many cases were pending for over five years.
He sought directions to ensure that courts dealing with case against lawmakers should exclusively try such issues.
The plea filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay sought direction that convicted parliamentarians and State legislators, former and sitting, should be disqualified and banned for life from contesting elections to Parliament or Assemblies.
The plea also sought speedy disposal of cases against them and pointed out that while judges and babus were suspended for such activities, politicians were condoned by the law.
As of now, convicted politicians are banned from polls for six years.
The Central government in an affidavit filed in 2020 had rejected the idea of a lifetime ban on convicted persons contesting elections or forming or becoming an office-bearer of a political party.
It had said that disqualification under the Representation of the People Act of 1951 for the period of six years was enough for legislators.
Hansaria had earlier filed the report in the apex court and informed that a total of 4,984 criminal cases against former and sitting MPs and MLAs are pending before various sessions and magistrate courts across the country, an increase of 862 such cases in the last three years.
In August 2021 the top court directed that no prosecution against sitting former MPs and MLAs will be withdrawn without the permission of the High Court of the concerned state.
It had further directed that judges hearing the criminal cases against MPs and MLAs in Special Courts should continue in their current posts until further orders of the Supreme Court. (ANI)
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