8 MLAs face criminal cases
IMPHAL, 5th Dec: Eight sitting MLAs of Manipur are among 4122 legislators against whom criminal cases are pending. The list of tainted former and current lawmakers was prepared as per the high court data compiled by amicus curiae Vijay Hansaria.
Legal process against the eight MLAs of the state as well as their counterparts across the country might be expedited in sync with Tuesday's ruling by the Supreme Court that directed state governments to first try serious cases of offences punishable with life terms and death penalty against all former and current legislators on a priority basis in special courts.
The court had earlier asked the states to fast track these cases to maintain purity of the electoral process and keep out politicians with criminal records from the poll arena.
The submissions by the amicus were made in the course of hearing of the plea filed by lawyer and BJP leader, Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay for providing adequate infrastructure for setting up Special Courts to decide criminal cases against people’s representatives, public servants and members of the judiciary.
Hansaria, assisted by lawyer Sneha Kalita, suggested that offences punishable with imprisonment for life/death against current MPs and MLAs must be taken up first. Serious offences punishable with imprisonment of five years or more against such MPs and MLAs could be next. The last in the list of priorities could be other offences against the lawmakers.
There are several 30 years old cases which are still pending. Of the total cases, 2324 cases involve current MPs and MLAs while 1675 involve former legislators. There are cases of 1991, which are yet to frame charge sheets while several cases are still pending due to stay order by higher courts.
As per the data, eight current MLAs of Manipur are facing cases for offences punishable with death sentence, life imprisonment or imprisonment for 20 years. The state has altogether 12 cases of which 11 have pending charge sheets due to stay order by high court and one trial pending.
Four current MLAs of Congress and one current MLA of BJP are facing cases with offences punishable with death sentence, life imprisonment or imprisonment for the last 20 years. Of the five cases, one is pending for want of evidence while charges are yet to be framed for the remaining four cases.
The amicus curiae suggested the bench that the designated special courts in each district should hold trial for the cases against lawmakers on a day-to-day basis in a particular priority starting with cases involving offences punishable with imprisonment for life/death against sitting MPs/MLAs.
The bench, however, modified his suggestion and said that the designated courts should take up cases of both sitting as well as former MPs/MLAs involving offences which entail punishment with life term or death sentences as first priority.
In many cases it appears that trial has been held up due to interim orders passed by the High Court. It is thus submitted that High Courts may be requested to take up all the cases where the trial against MPs/MLAs are held up due to interim orders passed by it, preferably within 3 months from date of order of the Supreme Court.