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Cong MLA opposes in SC transfer of all cases involving lawmakers to fast track courts

The matter came up for hearing today before a bench comprising justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha which issued a notice to the Madhya Pradesh government.

PTI Last Updated at 03 Aug 2018, 19:08 IST India

A Congress MLA from Madhya Pradesh today moved the Supreme Court opposing the mandatory transfer of all types of pending criminal cases against lawmakers to fast-track courts set up exclusively to deal with cases involving MPs and MLAs.

The plea by Jitendra Patwari alias Jitu sought a direction that matters pending against lawmakers in courts set up under special legislation, like the Prevention of Corruption Act, be not transferred to the fast track courts.

The petition has referred to the apex court's December 14 order by which it had directed that 12 fast track courts, to be set up to exclusively deal with cases involving lawmakers, should start functioning from March 1.

The plea also said that such fast-track courts should be established in each district of the country so that these matters could be decided expeditiously.

The matter came up for hearing today before a bench comprising justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha which issued a notice to the Madhya Pradesh government.

The bench said that the main petitions would be heard on August 21. These petitions include one filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay which seeks that provisions of the Representation of the People Act barring convicted politicians from contesting elections for six years after serving jail term be declared ultra vires of the Constitution

Patwari also sought a direction that the state, while transferring cases involving lawmakers to these fast-track courts, should ensure that cases triable by magistrates be not transferred to the sessions court.

Patwari, who is also an accused in a case for allegedly obstructing police officials from the discharge of their duty, has said that his magisterial triable case was also transferred to the fast-track court designated by the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

He said the high court had in February issued a notification designating the court of Additional Sessions Judge, Bhopal, as a fast track court to deal with cases against MPs and MLAs in Madhya Pradesh.

The plea said that due to this, his magistrate triable case was also transferred to the special court after which he had approached the high court against it.

It said that later in May, the high court had issued another notification and conferred the powers of the judicial magistrate to the sessions judge of the fast track court.

The plea said that an accused has a statutory right to appeal to the sessions court against the order of a magistrate and by virtue of the high court's notification issued in May, this right was taken away.

It also said that as per the apex court's order, 12 fast track courts were to be set up across the country and it would "not be feasible" for the person concerned with these cases to attend the proceedings as it would demand traveling long distances.

"It is submitted that creation of such courts will only delay the disposal of these cases as the burden will increase on the fast track courts, the inconvenience will be caused to the stake-holders and cumulatively, these reasons will lead to docket explosion," the plea said.

Referring to the case against him, Patwari said that his "right to appeal will be curtailed by order of sessions court constituted under the notification. The right to appeal is a substantive right and also a statutory right provided under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973".

The apex court had in December last year directed that 12 special courts to exclusively deal with cases involving lawmakers should start functioning from March 1 this year and had asked the Centre to "forthwith" allocate Rs 7.80 crore proportionately to the respective states.

It had said that immediately after allocation of funds by the Centre, the concerned state governments should, in consultation with high courts, set up these special courts.

The apex court had on November 1 directed the Centre to place before it the details regarding 1,581 cases involving MPs and MLAs, as declared by the politicians at the time of filing their nominations during the 2014 general elections.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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