Complete trial in criminal cases involving lawmakers within one year: SC to Lower Courts
Supreme Court has directed the lower courts to complete trial in cases that involves lawmakers within one year of framing of charges.
Supreme Court of India on 10 March 2014 directed the lower courts to complete trial in cases that involves lawmakers. In its direction, it has fixed a deadline of one year for framing charges against them.
Supreme Court has also ordeasked the lower courts to expedite the proceedings against sitting MPs and MLAs in criminal cases. The Court has also said that if in case the trial is not completed within a year than the trial courts will have to give explanation for not completion to Chief Justice of the respective High Court.
In its direction, the Court has reserved the rights of extension of the time in the hands in the Chief Justice of high court if in case, he is satisfied with the reason given by the trial judge for his failure to complete the trial within the set time. This bench has directed that all such proceedings that involve lawmakers must be conducted on a day-to-day basis in order to expedite the trial.
These directions were given by a bench of Supreme Court that was headed by Justice RM Lodha and the order was passed following a PIL filed by an NGO that was seeking direction for expeditious trial in cases involving lawmakers.
This direction was given following the PIL as the trial of these lawmakers is pending for years and this delay in framing charges allows them to enjoy membership of the legislative body although they have been charged in different offences.
This step of the apex court can be considered as an important move to decriminalize politics of the country. Earlier, the apex court in its direction passed in 2013 ruled that lawmakers who are convicted of a crime will stand disqualified immediately.