Justice Ranjan Gogoi
CJI Ranjan Gogoi. File image

The Supreme Court has asked 25 states including eight North-eastern states–Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim–to place before it “full and complete updated information” about the status of criminal cases pending against MPs and MLAs.

A bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi on Wednesday also asked these states and Registrars General of all high courts to place before it the “precise number” of such pending cases required to be transferred to the special courts meant to deal exclusively with cases involving lawmakers.

Justice Ranjan Gogoi directed states and high courts to place before the top court details of such pending cases for transfer to the 12 special courts that have already been set up by October 10, The Telegraph reported.

“We specifically direct the two authorities, namely, the chief secretaries of the states and the registrar generals of the high courts, to lay before us the precise number of cases… pending and required to be transferred to the special courts,” the judge said in an order.

The judge, who is due to assume charge on October 3, sought details on whether the 12 special courts were functional, and fixed October 10 for the next hearing.

 “We also make it clear that on receipt of the requisite information… the (top) court will monitor compliance of its orders passed from time to time by clubbing a number of states together for being separately taken up on each date of hearing,” Justice Gogoi, sitting on a bench with Justice Navin Sinha, added.

The order came on a public interest petition from advocate Ashwini Upadhyaya for setting up special courts to fast-track cases involving legislators.

On November 1 last year, the court had asked the Centre and the states for details on how many of the 1,581 cases involving MLAs and MPs – according to election affidavits for 2014 – had been disposed of within a year as the court had “envisaged” in an order dated March 10, 2014.

“How many of these cases which have been finally decided have ended in acquittal/conviction of MPs and MLAs as may be,” the top court had wanted to know.

The court had also sought details of whether any more criminal cases had been lodged against any current or former legislator between 2014 and November 1, 2017.

According to a source, there were criminal cases against at least four sitting MPs and MLAs of Assam. The Lok Sabha MP from Kokrajhar seat, Naba Sarania, is facing trial in a robbery-cum-twin murder case in Guwahati in 2012. Chandan Sarkar, the former Congress MLA from Abhayapuri South, is also facing trial in a disproportionate assets case.

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