The number of criminal cases against MPs and MLAs has increased by 17% in two yrs

NEW DELHI: There has been a 17 percent jump in criminal cases filed against MPs and MLAs in less than two years, proving the nexus between politics and crime – a phenomenon the Supreme Court is having difficulty curbing despite its five-year campaign to speed up trials. The money and muscle power of elected representatives have long delayed the implementation of these policies.

A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice NV Pamna on the eve of resuming hearing after nine months on a PIL filed by Ashwini Upadhyay, sought speedy trial in cases against MPs and MLAs by setting up special courts. Amicus Curiae and Senior Advocate Vijay Hansaria submitted a report presenting a dismal picture of the state of the litigation against the elected representatives.

It was handed over on Monday with the help of advocate Sneha Kalita. In the report, Hansaria said the number of pending criminal cases against sitting and former MPs and MLAs stood at 4,122 in December 2018. It has increased to 4,859 in September 2020. In less than two years, these cases registered a jump of 17 percent, he said in the 54-page report. Central agencies, including the CBI, were repeatedly asked by the Supreme Court through its orders on September 16, October 6 and November 4 last year to submit status reports on pending cases being probed by these agencies. Hansaria said that despite repeated instructions, the Center has not given any such report.

Hansaria also said that the Supreme Court was repeatedly asking the central government about centrally funded video-conference facilities in special courts, set up specifically to try criminal cases against current and former elected representatives. was done, but he has not yet stated his decision.

Nyaya Mitra highlighted the tendency of state governments to try to withdraw their party’s MPs and MLAs, even those registered for serious offenses. He said that the UP government has demanded the withdrawal of 76 cases against the elected representatives, including the Muzaffarnagar riot cases against Sangeet Som, Kapil Dev, Suresh Rana and Sadhvi Prachi. Hansaria cited a report published on December 17 last year on the Maharashtra government’s move to withdraw political cases against activists lodged before January 1, 2020.