Madras HC calls for roadmap for expeditious disposal of criminal cases against legislators

The court had taken suo moto cognisance in December, 2020 after the apex court sought data on criminal cases against legislators

Madras High Court

The Madras High Court bench comprising Chief Justice Sajib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, called for preparation of a comprehensive road map for dealing with cases pending against legislators, considering “the litigative resourcefulness of the legislators and the affinity to delay the trials”.

The court on December 1, 2020 had taken suo moto cognisance for monitoring the progress of criminal cases proceedings against state MPs and MLAs in order to ensure compliance of directions issued by apex court in Ashwini Upadhyay and ors vs. UOI (order dated September 16, 2020). In this case, the apex court had directed that high courts must assign pending criminal cases against MPs and MLAs to sessions and magistrate court to expedite their disposal. The apex court, in its November 4, 2020 order had also directed that unnecessary adjournment should be avoided in these cases and if any stay has been granted in such cases, the same expires in six months and hence they should be taken up after expiry of such period.

On October 6, 2020 the apex court directed high courts to collate data in a format so that the court could decide upon the number of special courts required for expeditious disposal of pending criminal cases against sitting or former legislators. In compliance, Madras High Court collated data and concluded that 107 such cases were pending before the High Court alone. Thus, vide its order dated December 1, 2020, the court issued certain directions that pending cases must be listed on priority; at least 10 cases to be heard on priority and so on.

The court, in its January 5 order stated that the matter has to get precedence and asked the state government to augment the judiciary’s resources, if necessary, to take effective steps for early disposal of pending cases against legislators.

The complete order may be read here.



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