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Thursday, February 29, 2024
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Supreme Court asks high courts to set up special bench to monitor criminal trials against lawmakers

A bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud issued a slew of directions to high courts and trial courts on a PIL filed by Ashwini Upadhyay seeking early disposal of pending criminal cases against lawmakers.

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In a significant verdict, the Supreme Court on Thursday directed all high courts to set up a special bench and register a suo motu case to monitor criminal matters pending against MPs and MLAs to ensure their early disposal. A bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud issued a slew of directions to high courts and trial courts on a PIL filed by Ashwini Upadhyay seeking early disposal of pending criminal cases against lawmakers.

The top court said it would be difficult for it to give uniform guidelines for trial courts for speedy disposal of cases against lawmakers.

The judgment said the high courts will be setting up a special bench, presided over either by the chief justice or by a bench designated by the chief justice, to monitor criminal trials against the lawmakers. The high courts may call upon special lower courts for reports on the status of trials against lawmakers in criminal cases, it said.

”The trial courts shall not adjourn hearing of the cases against the Member of Parliament, MLAs and MLCs except for rare and compelling reasons,” it said. The principal district and session judges shall ensure sufficient infrastructure and technological facilities for designated special courts to try lawmakers, the CJI said while pronouncing the judgment.

The bench was hearing a PIL filed through lawyer Ashwani Dubey, which, besides seeking a life-term ban on politicians upon conviction in criminal cases, has sought reliefs like an expeditious trial of accused lawmakers and the setting up of special courts for this purpose in the country.

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