However, the top court said it would be difficult to lay down uniform guidelines for lower courts for speedy disposal of cases against MPs and MLAs.
A bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha and Justice Manoj Mishra said the high court can summon special lower courts to report on the status of trials against MPs in criminal cases, the top court said.
The apex court also directed that lower courts shall not adjourn the hearing of such cases except for rare and compelling reasons.
The top court also asked the district judges to ensure that adequate infrastructure, technical facilities are in place for the special courts designated to hear the lawmakers.
The bench further said that death penalty cases against MPs/MLAs should be given priority over other cases.
Calling it a “historic verdict”, the petitioner, Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, said, “The Supreme Court verdict has come in relation to our first prayer. The court has directed all the high courts to set up a special bench to monitor the cases of MPs, MLAs and MLAs. Instructed to do so.” Ensure that these cases are decided within a year,” says lawyer and petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay after the Supreme Court issued a series of directions to monitor the speedy disposal of criminal cases pending against MPs and MLAs.
The Supreme Court’s decision on Thursday came on a petition which had, among other things, sought a lifetime ban on convicted politicians, including sitting MPs, from contesting elections as opposed to the existing six-year ban.
The final decision on the petition has not yet been taken by the court, which has only passed directions on expeditious disposal of the cases. According to the Bar and Bench, the prayer for lifetime ban will be considered later.
The petitioner also sought deletion of the six-year ban and replacing it with a lifetime ban under Section 8(3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (RP Act).