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Special court saddled with huge number of cases

Special court saddled with huge number of cases
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Special court saddled with huge number of cases

Highlights

As many as 165 pending cases against former and sitting MPs and MLAs

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday was told that one special court set up in Bengaluru to decide 165 pending cases against former and sitting MPs and MLAs was not sufficient as witnesses have to travel from far off places, affecting fair trials.

In a fresh report, amicus curiae, senior advocate Vijay Hansaria and advocate Sneha Kalita said the number of cases pending against the legislators have increased over the last two years. They sought strict monitoring, at micro level, by the High Courts to ensure expeditious disposals of such cases.

The amicus submitted before the top court that one court each in West Bengal's 24 North Pargana and Uttar Pradesh's Allahabad district was not adequate to dispose of 134 and 300 cases respectively.

Hansaria's suggestions include taking steps for establishment of 'safe and secure witness examination room' video conferencing facility for each court, and creating a special website to show status of cases. He also pointed out that the total number of cases as per the latest reports have risen to 4,859, whereas, as per earlier reports filed in March, 2020, the cases were 4,442

Hansaria's report filed in a pending PIL by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay said the Karnataka and Calcutta High Courts have insisted for continuing with one special court in the states.

"Instead, it will be more appropriate to assign cases to the respective jurisdictional courts with a mandate to try the cases on priority basis. Other cases may be allotted to such courts only having regard to the workload," his report stated.

In the case of West Bengal also, he said the High Court may be requested to establish more number of Special Courts having regard to the geographical area of the place of occurrence. "It may be directed that the Superintendent of Police of the concerned district will be personally responsible for execution of warrants and service of summons to the legislators and any breach thereof will be treated as contempt of the orders of this court", he suggested.

Similarly, he said, if any legislator despite receipt of summons or warrant does not appear before the court, he or she will be liable for contempt of this court, apart from disciplinary proceedings. The top court is scheduled to take up the matter on Tuesday.

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