New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday set a fresh four-month deadline for Centre and states to make functional all the 22 CBI courts across the country for trying corruption cases involving politicians and public servants and warned that failure to comply with its order would invite contempt action against chief secretaries.
A bench of justices G S Singhvi and C Nagappan also observed that these CBI courts are necessary for "speedy and expeditious" disposal of corruption cases.
"We expect that Central government and state governments to make all CBI courts functional.
"If not complied within four months, chief secretaries will be liable for proceedings under the Contempt of Court Act," the bench said.
"People`s confidence in administration of justice is restored by the setting up of these courts," it said.
The court had earlier expressed its displeasure over the Centre`s failure to set up adequate special CBI courts despite its repeated orders.
The court had on January 30 directed the Centre to set up 22 special CBI courts within two months across the country while making it clear that it was not satisfied with the reasons and explanations given by the authorities concerned.
"We have been passing orders since 2011... But every time you come out with reasons and explanations. If you wish, you can do it within an hour," the bench had observed.
The court had earlier taken cognisance of a letter written by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to chief ministers in July 2009 for creation of additional special courts.
The government had in 2009 decided to set up 71 additional special courts exclusively for trial of CBI cases in various states.
In its August 5 order, the apex court directed that "all
the 22 Additional Special Courts for which the Government of India had written to different state governments/union territories, should be made effectively functional by the respective states and the administration of union territories, by providing necessary infrastructure and provisions for budget."
"In so far as manpower is concerned, Law Secretaries of the state governments and union territories are directed to get in touch with the administration of the respective High Courts and ensure that suitable officers are made available for posting in the Special Courts within a maximum period of two months," the order had said.
CBI had told the court that out of 22 additional special courts, 15 have been sanctioned and are likely to become functional very soon.
The apex court was also informed that as against 197 sanctioned posts of public prosecutors, at present 166 public prosecutors are working and the process is on for filling up the remaining posts.