The Union Government has framed a scheme to set up 12 Special Courts for a year to fast-track the trial of criminal cases against 1,581 MPs and MLAs. This decision was conveyed by Government to Supreme Court and is intended to end inordinate delay in prosecution of politicians in criminal cases.
Criminalisation of politics is one of the major concerns in India as several politicians facing charges of murder, corruption, rape and abduction continue to be lawmakers. In November 2017, the Supreme Court had asked Union Government to come up with scheme to set up special courts for trying criminal cases against legislators. It had directed the government that aim of the scheme must be disposing of 1,581 criminal cases involving political persons within a time frame of one year. The apex court was hearing a PIL filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay. The petitioner is seeking a lifelong ban on convicted politicians from contesting elections.
Proposed Government Scheme
Initially, 12 courts would be constituted. Two special courts will handle cases against 228 MPs and remaining 10 courts will be set up in 10 states viz. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
These 10 states have number of MLAs booked for criminal acts more than 65. In states where there are less than 65 cases, the cases will be sent to existing fast track courts with the Supreme Court approval. The number of courts has been calculated on basis of 11th Finance Commission analysis which mandates that one such court can dispose of 165 cases per annum. The scheme is silent on special judicial forum to hear criminal cases against 44 Rajya Sabha MPs and also on which court will hear them.