disposal of criminal cases against MPs and MLAs

Supreme Court: In the case related to expeditious disposal of criminal cases against elected members of the Parliament (MPs) and Legislative Assemblies (MLAs), the 3-judge bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud, CJI and PS Narasimha and Manoj Misra, JJ has issued several directions including a direction to the Chief Justices of the High Courts to register a suo-motu case with the title, “In Re: designated courts for MPs/MLAs” to monitor early disposal of criminal cases pending against the members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies. The suo-motu case may be heard by the Special Bench presided by the Chief Justice or a bench assigned by them.

The figures show that there are as many as 5,175 subject cases pending as of November, 2022. Of these, cases that are pending for more than 5 years are as many as 2,116, which figure is more than 40% of such pendency.

Considering that such cases have a direct bearing on our political democracy, the Court noted the compelling need to make every effort to ensure that these cases are taken up on priority and decided expeditiously.

“Confidence and trust of the constituency in their political representative, be it an MP or an MLA, is necessary for an interactive, efficient and effective functioning of a parliamentary democracy. However, such confidence is difficult to expect when figures, as indicated in the above referred table, loom large in our polity.”

Having earnestly conducted and monitored this case for the last seven years i.e. from 2017, the Court analyzed the data and information brought to its notice by the High Courts and affidavits filed by the States, and came to the following two conclusions:

  1. there are multiple factors that have a direct bearing on the disposal of the subject cases, and

  2. there is substantial variation from state to state, and district to district, with respect to each of these factors.

The Court, hence, formulated certain guidelines that will enable the completion of investigation, smooth conduct of trial, removal of impediments and conclusion of the subject cases at the earliest.

  1. The Chief Justices of the High Courts shall register a suo-motu case with the title, “In Re: designated courts for MPs/MLAs” to monitor early disposal of criminal cases pending against the members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies. The suo-motu case may be heard by the Special Bench presided by the Chief Justice or a bench assigned by them.

  2. The Special Bench hearing the suo-motu case may list the matter at regular intervals as is felt necessary. The High Court may issue such orders and/or directions as are necessary for expeditious and effective disposal of the subject cases. The Special Bench may consider calling upon the Advocate General or the Public Prosecutor to assist the Court.

  3. The High Court may require the Principal District and Sessions Judge to bear the responsibility of allocating the subject cases to such court or courts as is considered appropriate and effective. The High Court may call upon the Principal District and Sessions Judge to send reports at such intervals as it considers expedient.

  4. The designated courts shall give priority:

    1. first to criminal cases against MP’s & MLA’s punishable with death or life imprisonment

    2. then to cases punishable with imprisonment for 5 years or more, and

    3. then hear other cases.

    The Trial Courts shall not adjourn the cases except for rare and compelling reasons.

  5. The Chief Justices may list cases in which orders of stay of trial have been passed before the Special Bench to ensure that appropriate orders, including vacation of stay orders are passed to ensure commencement and conclusion of trial.

  6. The Principal District and Sessions Judge shall ensure sufficient infrastructure facility for the designated courts and also enable it to adopt such technology as is expedient for effective and efficient functioning.

  7. The High Courts shall create an independent tab on their website providing district-wise information about the details of the year of filing, number of subject cases pending and stage of proceedings. While monitoring the subject cases, the Special Bench may pass such orders or give such additional directions as are necessary for early disposal of the subject cases.

The matter dealt with 2 issues, namely, (i) the expeditious disposal of criminal cases against elected members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies; and (ii) the constitutional validity of Section 8 of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951. While the first issue has been disposed of by the Court in the present order, the Court is yet to decide the second issue.

[Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 1463, decided on 09.11.2023]

Judgment Authored by Dr Justice DY Chandrachud

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Advocates who appeared in this case :

Amicus curiae: Mr. Vijay Hansaria, Sr. AdvMs. Sneha Kalita, AOR Ms. Kavya Jhawar, Adv.

For Petitioner(s) Mr. Gopal Saankaranarayan, Sr. Adv. Mr. Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, Adv. Mr. Ashwani Kumar Dubey, AOR Mr. Rishabh Shukla, Adv. Mr. Vaibhav Tiwari, Adv. Ms. Tanya Srivastava, Adv.

For Respondent(s) Mr. Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General Mr. K M Nataraj, A.S.G. Ms. Sonia Mathur, Sr. Adv. Ms. V Mohana, Sr. Adv. Mr. K Parmeshwar, Adv. Mr. Mohd Akhil, Adv. Mrs. Rajat Nair, Adv. Mr. Apoorv Kurup, Adv. Mr. Arvind Kumar Sharma, AOR Mr. Pranav Sachdeva, AOR Mr. Balaji Srinivasan, AOR Mr. Sahil Tagotra, AOR Mr. Sidhant Kumar, Adv. Ms. Manyaa Chandok, Adv. Ms. Abhivyakti Banerjee, Adv. Mr. Shiv Ram Sharma, AOR Mr. P.N. Ravindran, Sr. Adv. Mr. T. G. Narayanan Nair, AOR Ms. Swathi H. Prasad, Adv. Mr. P. S. Sudheer, AOR Mr. Mahesh Agarwal, Adv. Mr. Nishant Rao, Adv. Mr. E. C. Agrawala, AOR Ms. Astha Sharma, AOR Mr. Srisatya Mohanty, Adv. Ms. Anju Thomas, Adv. Mr. Sanjeev Kaushik, Adv. Ms. Mantika Haryani, Adv. Mr. Shreyas Awasthi, Adv. Mr. Himanshu Chakravarty, Adv. Ms. Ripul Swati Kumari, Adv. Mr. Bhanu Mishra, Adv. Ms. Muskan Surana, Adv. Ms. Anvita Dwivedi, Adv. Ms. Lihzu Shiney Konyak, Adv. Ms. K. Enatoli Sema, AOR Ms. Limayinla Jamir, Adv. Mr. Amit Kumar Singh, Adv. Ms. Chubalemla Chang, Adv. Mr. Prang Newmai, Adv. Mr. Anupam Raina, AOR Mr. Sunando Raha, Adv. Mr. Nishant Kumar, Adv. Mr. Ajay Pal, AOR Mr. Kumar Mihir, AOR Ms. G. Indira, AOR Mrs. Swarupama Chaturvedi, AOR Mr. Anandh Kannan N., AOR Mr. Rushab Aggarwal, Adv. Mr. Pashupathi Nath Razdan, AOR Ms. Maitreyee Jagat Joshi, Adv. Mr. Astik Gupta, Adv. Ms. Riddhima J Aggarwal, Adv. Mr. Japnish Singh Bhatia, Adv. Mr. Aashish Chojar, Adv. Ms. Alka Chojar, Adv. Mr. Shuvodeep Roy, AOR Mr. Kabir Shankar Bose, Adv. Mr. Deepayan Dutta, Adv. Mr. Saurabh Tripathi, Adv. Mr. Apoorv Kurup, AOR Ms. Kirti Dadheech, Adv. Ms. Gauri Goburdhun, Adv. Ms. Aparna Arun, Adv. Mr. Akhil Hasija, Adv. Mr. Shivansh Dwivedi, Adv. Mr. Abhishek Atrey, AOR Mr. Ravindra Lokhande, Adv. Ms. Vidyottma Jha, Adv. Dr. Abhishek Atrey, Adv. Mr. Gaurav Agrawal, AOR Mr. Raghvendra Kumar, AOR Mr. Anand Kumar Dubey, Adv. Mr. Devvrat Singh, Adv. Mr. Sibo Sankar Mishra, AOR Intervenor-in-person Mr. Aravindh S., AOR Mr. S.C. Verma, Sr. Adv. Mr. Sumeer Sodhi, AOR Mr. Yash Gupta, Adv. Mr. Anup Rattan, Sr. Adv. Mr. Baldev Singh, Adv. Mr. Rajeev Kumar Gupta, Adv. Mr. Tavleen Singh, Adv. Ms. Vallabhi Shukla, Adv. Mr. Joginder Mann, Adv. Mr. Divyansh Thakur, Adv. Mr. Bimlesh Kumar Singh, AOR Mr. Kanwal Chaudhary, Adv. Ms. Niharika, Adv. Ms. Hemantika Wahi, AOR M/S. Gorkela Law Office, AOR Mr. Abhimanue Shrestha, AOR Mr. Nishe Rajen Shonker, AOR Mrs. Anu K Joy, Adv. Mr. Alim Anvar, Adv. Mr. Abraham Mathew, Adv. Mr. Siddhesh Shirish Kotwal, AOR Ms. Ana Upadhyay, Adv. Ms. Manya Hasija, Adv. Mr. Tejasvi Gupta, Adv. Mr. Pawan Upadhyay, Adv. Mr. T. Illayarasu, Adv. Mr. Tapesh Kumar Singh, AOR Mr. Aditya Pratap Singh, Adv. Mr. Prashant Bhardwaj, Adv. Mr. Priyanshu Malik, Adv. Mr. Naresh K. Sharma, AOR Mr. Gaurav Sharma, Adv. Mr. Shantanu Sagar, AOR Mr. Vaibhav Jain, Adv. Mr. Prabhat Ranjan Raj, Adv. Mr. Sidharth Sarthi, Adv. Mrs. Divya Mishra, Adv. Mr. Anil Kumar, Adv. Mr. Gunjesh Ranjan, Adv. Ms. Priyadarshni Priya, Adv. Mr. Gautam Narayan, AOR Ms. Asmita Singh, Adv. Ms. Enakshi Mukhopadhyay Siddhanta, AOR Mr. Sovan Siddhanta, Adv. Mr. Anil Shrivastav, AOR Mr. V. N. Raghupathy, AOR Mr. Manendra Pal Gupta, Adv. Mr. Md.apzal Ansari, Adv. Mr. Chirag M. Shroff, AOR Mr. Krishnam Mishra, Adv. Mr. Rajeev Kumar Dubey, Adv. Mr. Ashiwan Mishra, Adv. Mr. Kamlendra Mishra, AOR Mr. Santosh Krishnan, AOR Ms. Deepshikha Sansanwal, Adv. Mr. Ambhoj Kumar Sinha, AOR Mr. Ranjan Mukherjee, AOR Mr. Pukhrambam Ramesh Kumar, AOR Mr. Karun Sharma, Adv. Ms. Rajkumari Divyasana, Adv. Dr. Manish Singhvi, Sr. Adv. Mr. Sandeep Kumar Jha, AOR Mr. Raghavendra S. Srivatsa, AOR Mr. Venkita Subramoniam T.R, Adv. Mr. Likhi Chand Bonsle, Adv. Ms. Komal Mundhra, Adv. Ms. Anagha N. Sharma, Adv. Mr. Arjun Garg, AOR Mrs. Anil Katiyar, AOR M/S. Arputham Aruna And Co, AOR Dr. Joseph Aristotle S., AOR Mr. Amit Anand Tiwari, A.A.G. Mr. Sabarish Subramanian, AOR Ms. Devyani Gupta, Adv. Mr. Vishnu Unnikrishnan, Adv. Mr. C Kranthi Kumar, Adv. Mr. Naman Dwivedi, Adv. Mr. Danish Saifi, Adv. Ms. Tanvi Anand, Adv. Ms. Radhika Gautam, AOR Mr. Karan Bharihoke, AOR Mr. Mahesh Thakur, AOR Ms. K. V. Bharathi Upadhyaya, AOR Mr. Vikramjit Banerjee, A.S.G. Mr. M.k. Maroria, Sr. Adv. Mr. K.v.sreemuthin, Adv. Ms. Priyadarshini Priya, Adv. Mr. Saransh Kumar, Adv. Mr. Vishnu Jain, Adv. Mr. Shreekant Neelappa Terdal, AOR Mr. Abhinav Mukerji, AOR Mrs. Bihu Sharma, Adv. Ms. Pratishtha Vij, Adv. Mr. Mohit Prasad, Adv. Mr. Sanjay Kumar Tyagi, AOR Mr. Satish Pandey, AOR Mr. Akbar Ali, Adv. Mr. Manmohan Sharma, Adv. Ms. Jay Jaimini Pandey, Adv. Ms. Sadiya Shakeel, Adv. Mrs. Lalita Gupta, Adv. Mr. Pradeep Kumar Dwivedi, Adv. Mr. Harendra Kumar Sharma, Adv. Mr. Mukesh Kumar Verma, Adv. Mr. Shah Syed Samadur Rahman, Adv. Mr. Abdul Qadir, Adv. Mr. Umang Tripathi, Adv. Mr. Manish Kumar Tiwari, Adv. Mr. Prabhoo Dayal Tiwari, Adv. Mr. Anirudh Bankura, Adv. Dr. Nafis A.siddiqui, Adv. Mr. Malak Manish Bhatt, AOR Mr. Shailesh Madiyal, AOR Mr. Sunny Choudhary, AOR Mr. Sandeep Sharma, Adv. Mr. Karan Bishnoi, Adv. Mr. Kunal Chatterji, AOR Ms. Maitrayee Banerjee, Adv. Mr. Rohit Bansal, Adv. Ms. Kshitij Singh, Adv. Mr. Sohhom Sau, Adv. Ms. Uttara Babbar, AOR Ms. Sampriti Baksi, Adv. Mr. Sandeep Sudhakar Deshmukh, AOR Mr. Nishant Sharma, Adv. Mr. Akshay Subhash Jagtap, Adv. Mr. Swapnil Anil Walde, Adv. Mr. Kabir Dixit, AOR Mr. P. V. Yogeswaran, AOR Mr. Ashok Mathur, AOR Mr. Sameer Abhyankar, AOR Ms. Vani Vandana Chhetri, Adv. Ms. Nishi Sangtani, Adv. Mr. Naman Jain, Adv. Mr. Anand Dilip Landge, Adv. Mr. Siddharth Dharmadhikari, Adv. Mr. Aaditya Aniruddha Pande, AOR Mr. Bharat Bagla, Adv. Mr. Sourav Singh, Adv. Mr. Aditya Krishna, Adv. Mr. Anandh Kannan N., AOR M/S. Plr Chambers And Co., AOR Ms. Jesal Wahi, AOR Mr. Sanjai Kumar Pathak, AOR Mr. Arvind Kumar Tripathi, Adv. Mrs. Shashi Pathak, Adv. Ms. Aswathi M.k., AOR Mr. Shovan Mishra, AOR Mr. B.K. Satija, A.A.G. Mr. Samar Vijay Singh, AOR Mr. Keshav Mittal, Adv. Ms. Sabarni Som, Adv.

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