New Delhi: Bihar leads the country with maximum number of criminal cases pending against MPs and MLAs. West Bengal holds the second place whereas Kerala is third on this ladder of dubious distinction.
According to the statistics compiled by the central government, a total of 1,233 cases were transferred to special courts that were set up under the order of the Supreme Court to fast-track trials in criminal cases pending against lawmakers. Only 136 cases have been disposed of so far and 1097 are still pending.
Bihar had a total of 260 cases transferred to the special courts, of which 11 have been disposed in the last six months while 249 cases remain yet to be decided.
West Bengal has been extremely sluggish in disposing these cases. It had 215 such criminal cases pending against MPs and MLAs in March 2018 and not even one has been wrapped up till date. There was no information on disposal of the 178 cases in Kerala.
Delhi followed Kerala in number of cases against lawmakers. It had 157 cases triable by a magistrate. Out of this, 44 were decided in the last six months.
Delhi also had 45 other more serious cases that were tried by sessions court and six have been disposed of till date.
There were 142 cases pending against MPs and MLAs in Karnataka. Of this, 19 have been decided. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana has 64 pending cases while Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have 50 and 28 pending cases respectively.
According to the affidavit submitted by the central government in the Supreme Court, there are 12 special courts that have been specially set up to decide cases against MPs and MLAs.
Six of these are sessions courts while five others are magisterial courts. Tamil Nadu is still to provide information about the special court functioning there.
Special courts have been set up at Allahabad and Chennai, too, but the details of pending cases are yet to be given to the Law Ministry, which has been tasked to collate the information and file affidavit in the top court. Also, the notification for the special court at Chennai is pending consideration before the Madras High Court.
The affidavit has been filed in connection with a PIL moved by BJP leader and Supreme Court lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay in 2016.
Hearing this PIL, a bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi had issued direction to the Centre to make provision for special courts and allocate necessary budgetary sanctions to the states.
On the last date, the Court had called for a categorical affidavit as to how many courts have been set up, status of pending cases and the need to have more number of special courts.
The Ministry's affidavit has stated that the fund has been disbursed to the state governments for setting up the special courts and only Bombay High Court has expressed the desire to have one more court.
The Centre has further maintained that the state government should spend from its coffers or use the money already disbursed to them by it for setting up additional courts, if any. The Supreme Court will hear this matter on Thursday now.