Supreme Court Directs High Courts to Expedite Criminal Cases Against MPs, MLAs

New Delhi: The Supreme Court issued crucial directives for the expeditious resolution of criminal cases involving Members of Parliament (MPs) and state legislators. The bench, headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, emphasized the need for prompt disposal and urged high courts nationwide to initiate suo motu cases to ensure effective monitoring.

Recognizing the complexity of establishing uniform guidelines for trial courts, the court proposed the creation of special benches, led by the Chief Justice or an assigned bench, for hearing such cases. These benches are advised to schedule regular hearings and seek assistance from the Advocate General or prosecutor.

The Supreme Court prioritized cases against MPs and MLAs with the death penalty over other cases carrying sentences of five years or more. It also mandated that trial adjournments should occur only in rare and compelling circumstances.

This directive resulted from a plea filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay. During the proceedings, the Enforcement Directorate revealed 51 MPs and 71 MLAs facing charges under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, while the Central Bureau of Investigation reported 121 pending cases against current and former legislators.

Senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, acting as amicus curiae, underscored the significant delays in lawmaker trials, citing instances where cases have lingered for over five years.

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