Ensure quick trial of cases against lawmakers: Centre to HCs

 With the Supreme Court setting a deadline for completing trial in cases involving lawmakers, the Law Ministry has written to high courts requesting them to ensure that cases against MPs and MLAs facing charges which attract disqualification are fast-tracked.

New Delhi: With the Supreme Court setting a deadline for completing trial in cases involving lawmakers, the Law Ministry has written to high courts requesting them to ensure that cases against MPs and MLAs facing charges which attract disqualification are fast-tracked.

The decision to write to the state governments as well as the 24 high courts was taken at a recent high-level meeting chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and attended by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and senior officials of Home and Law Ministries, besides Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi.

Cases against MPs and MLAs which attract disqualification under Section 8(1), 8(2) and 8(3) of the Representation of the People Act needed to be completed within one year of framing charges as per a March 10 direction of the Supreme Court.

Any sentence which attracts punishment of two years and above can lead to disqualification from Parliament or state legislature.

Highly-placed sources said the Attorney General is likely to inform the apex court about the government's decision to write to the states to expedite the cases involving lawmakers.

In its March 10 directive, the Supreme Court had set a deadline for lower courts to complete trial in cases involving lawmakers within a year of framing of charges.

The apex court had also said trial courts would have to give explanation to the chief justice of the respective high court if the trial is not completed within a year. It said all such proceedings involving lawmakers must be conducted on a day-to-day basis in order to expedite the trial.

"It is a priority commitment of the Narendra Modi government that polity needs to be cleansed. Those against whom criminal cases are pending, that trial needs to be expedited. If they are clean, they will be acquitted. If they are not, law will take its own course," Law Minister Prasad had said last week.

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