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SC cracks whip on tainted lawmakers

SC cracks whip on tainted lawmakers
Highlights

In a big step to weed out politicians with criminal record, the Supreme Court on Wednesday told the Centre to come back with a plan next month to set...

New Delhi: In a big step to weed out politicians with criminal record, the Supreme Court on Wednesday told the Centre to come back with a plan next month to set up exclusive special courts for the country's lawmakers who faced criminal cases by 2014.

The apex court also told the Centre to spell out how much money it was willing to put on the table to set up these fast track courts so that the courts can start quickly. The court was also informed that 1581 such cases against MLAs/MPs were registered by the year 2014.

The bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi told the Centre to also furnish data of the ongoing cases against these 1,581 legislators, acquittals and convictions in the last three years.

The Supreme Court is of the view that it's in the interest of the nation that special courts should be set up, so that current courts are not overburdened. The court favoured speedy disposal of cases against legislators within a year. SC will hear the matter next on Dec 13.

The PIL has been filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, lawyer and a BJP member. The plea seeks to set up special courts for speedy disposal of matters related to legislators and to further bar them from contesting elections for life. Under the current Representation of People's Act, 1951, a person may contest elections after six years.

The Centre and Election Commission have been at loggerheads in this matter. While the EC, after a flip-flop, reiterated its stand in the SC supporting lifetime ban, the Centre was of the view that six years ban serves the purpose.

Multiple pleas have been filed in SC in this matter. Arguing in a related plea, earlier advocate Siddharth Luthra supported lifetime ban. Luthra argued that the current Representation of People's Act is arbitrary to the extent that it prescribes only six-year ban on contesting elections for a certain class of offences.

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