On Tuesday (13th December) the Centre agreed before the Supreme Court to set up special courts to deal with criminal charges against elected representatives. In an affidavit filed at the apex court, the centre has agreed to set up 12 such special courts, and allotted Rs 7.80 Crores for the purpose. It also sought time to collect data on cases pending against elected representatives across the country, so it can decide on how many special courts it needs to set up in total.
A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha emphasised the need to set up special courts by pointing out that on average, 4,200 cases are handled by each of the 17,000 subordinate courts. The submission by the Centre was made in response to questions posed by this bench during the last hearing on November 1st.
Last month the Election Commission (EC) for the first time stated that convicted MPs and MLAs must be debarred from contesting polls ever. During a hearing, the EC told the court that a law was needed to curb the growing menace of criminalisation of politics.
The Centre, meanwhile, refused to take a stand on the issue and told the bench that the matter was under consideration and the government was examining the recommendations of the Law Commission and EC for imposing a life ban on convicted MPs and MLAs from electoral politics.