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Speed up trial of politicians, says SC

The Supreme Court asked the government to frame a central scheme for setting up special courts across the country to exclusively try criminal cases involving ‘political persons.’

In a determined effort to cleanse politics of criminality and corruption, the apex court said it takes years, probably decades, to complete the trial against a politician.

By this time, he or she would have served as a minister or legislator several times over.

Countering the Centre’s argument that setting up such courts would depend on the availability of funds with the States. The problem can be resolved by having a central scheme for setting up of courts exclusively to deal with criminal cases involving political persons on the lines of the fast track courts.

A Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha ordered the government to place the scheme before it on December 13, the next date of hearing. It said the scheme should provide details of the funds required to set up such courts.

The Supreme Court would directly interact with the State governments on issues like the appointment of judicial officers, public prosecutors, court staff and other requirements of manpower and infrastructure for the special courts.

Giving no quarter, the apex court directed the Centre to submit a report card by December 13 on the status of the 1,581 criminal cases pending against Members of Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies at the time of the 2014 elections.

The court said it wanted to know whether its March 10, 2014 order to complete the trial in all these cases within a year’s time had been complied with or not.