12 special courts to try cases against politicians: Govt to Supreme Court

12 special courts to try cases against politicians: Govt to Supreme Court

The Centre has agreed to constitute special courts to dispose of cases against tainted lawmakers within a year but it seems highly improbable for just 12 courts to decide all such cases - which number over 13,500 - within the timeframe envisaged. The apex court had made it clear that these special courts should only handle cases involving lawmakers so that these trials can be completed within a year. The Centre, meanwhile, refused to take a stand on the issue and told the bench that the matter was under consideration and the government was examining the recommendations of the Law Commission and EC for imposing a life ban on convicted MPs and MLAs from electoral politics.Appearing for the Centre, additional solicitor general A N S Nadkarni told the bench that Centre is not averse to setting up special courts to try criminal cases/offences involving politicians.

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The Centre told the apex court that 1,581 criminal cases pending against lawmakers and politicians, a figure it had obtained from an NGO. The court was hearing a PIL filed by Delhi BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, seeking a lifelong ban on convicted politicians from contesting elections. The Centre told the SC that it will start with 12 such special courts, and added that it has allotted Rs 7.80 crore for the objective.

The government, however, has said that it does not have data on how many of these cases have been decided and whether any new case has been filed against an MP or MLA between 2014 and 2017.

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The Centre submitted that Rs 65 lakh would be required for setting up each court, adding up to a total of Rs 7.8 crore.

It had asked the government to apprise it of how many among these 1,581 cases have been disposed of within one year and how many have ended either in conviction or acquittal. However, the data as to in which courts the said cases are pending is not available with the NGO.

The court noted that the government was of the view the Dollars 11 billion acquisition of stake in Hutch by Vodafone was liable for tax deduction at source under the Income Tax Act. Since the details as to in which courts the cases are pending is not available, it is hard to gather facts and figures for answering the query of the court (on number of cases filed against lawmakers after 2014).

As Vodafone had not deducted tax at source, the government had raised the demand of Rs. 11,000 crore, which was subsequently quashed by the apex court on January 20, 2012.

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