New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday pulled up the Centre for not giving data as to the number of criminal cases pending against MPs and MLAs in various courts despite repeated directions. Expressing unhappiness over the negative response, a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Navin Sinha and K.M. Joseph deferred its hearing to next week by which time the Centre is expected to furnish the data sought for regarding the number of cases pending in each
fast-track courts already set up.
Justice Gogoi orally observed, “The government is compelling us to pass certain orders which we do not want at this stage. The union of India is unprepared. We express our anguish.” The Centre in its affidavit said, “This (Law) department is regularly taking up the matter with the concerned authorities for furnishing the information regarding the cases transferred/disposed/pending in the said courts” and only furnished a chart of communications and not the number of cases.
The bench was hearing a PIL filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhyay seeking setting up of fast-track courts to try criminal cases against politicians and to complete the trial within one year. On August 21 the last date of hearing, the bench had directed the Centre to expedite setting up of special courts to exclusively try legislators — MPs and MLAs — against whom criminal cases are pending and file a status report by August 30 specifying the number of cases pending before the already set up courts. The bench asked the government to inform it about the number of cases pending before each of these special courts.