12 special courts to try cases against politicians: Govt to Supreme Court

Special courts to deal with cases against MPs and MLAs

However, the Centre failed to provide it to the court. These points are part of the affidavit prepared by the Law Ministry.

The document, filed through Reeta Vasishta, Additional Secretary, Law and Justice Ministry, said the scheme had been given in-principle approval by the Finance Ministry on December 8.

The Election Commission, supporting the PIL, had said that such a ban was necessary for decriminalisation of politics. SC Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha emphasised the need to set up special courts by pointing out that on average 4,200 cases are handled by each of the 17,000 subordinate courts.

The number of courts "has been calculated on the basis of the 11th Finance Commission analysis that one such court can dispose of 165 cases per annum", said the government.

The Supreme Court is hearing a petition from Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, a lawyer and a member of the BJP, who has argued against the present system of barring a convicted lawmaker from contesting elections for six years.

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However, the number of criminal cases is more than 13,500 as of 2014 and 1,581 is the number of MPs and MLAs facing prosecution.

According to the Representation of the People Act, 1951, a politician convicted and sentenced to a jail term of two years or more shall be disqualified from contesting polls for six years from the date of his release from prison after conclusion of the term. Bihar would have just one court to deal with 141 cases involving MLAs as will Maharashtra to try 160 cases against its legislators.

If the court decides on a life-time ban, it could end the electoral career of politicians like Lalu Prasad, the former Chief Minister of Bihar convicted in fodder scam, and stop VK Sasikala ~ now in jail in a corruption case ~ from beginning one.

Surprisingly the Centre also submitted in the affidavit that there is no agency within Government of India for collecting the data on convicted legislators. Several tainted lawmakers face multiple cases. As per the affidavit the figure of 1581 cases have been obtained from an NGO. During a hearing, the EC told the court that a law was needed to curb the growing menace of criminalisation of politics.

The Court had also sought to know how numerous 1581 cases involving MPs and MLAs have been disposed of within the timeframe of 1 year, as envisaged by the Court in the case of Public Interest Foundation & Ors. v. Union of India & Anr.

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