PENDING CASE OF EX-MLAS, SITTING MPS | Furnish details within a month: HC tells Centre, J&K Government

PENDING CASE OF EX-MLAS, SITTING MPS | Furnish details within a month: HC tells Centre, J&K Government
The court was hearing on its own motion of Public Interest Litigation (PIL).File/ GK

Srinagar: The High Court (HC) has granted one more month to the Centre and J&K government for furnishing details about the number of cases pending in different subordinate courts as well as the matters pending in the HC against the former and sitting Members of Parliament and former Members of Legislative Assembly in J&K and Ladakh.

A division bench of Chief Justice PankajMithal and Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul granted a one month’s time for complying with the direction contained in the order dated 20 September 2021 after the Centre and J&K government though their counsel prayed for more time.

The court was hearing on its own motion of Public Interest Litigation (PIL).

In keeping with the directions of the Supreme Court for monitoring the progress of the trial of cases pending against the sitting and former legislators (MPs or MLAs), the HC has registered a PIL as “Court on its own motion versus the Union of India and others”.

The apex court has passed the directions in the order dated 16 September 2020 in the writ petition (Civil) No 699/2016.

Earlier, the court had arrayed Union Home Secretary, J&K’s Commissioner Secretary Home, and Commissioner Secretary Home, Ladakh as respondents and Assistant Solicitor General of India had accepted the notice on behalf of the Ministry of Home Affairs and of Ladakh while the Advocate General had accepted it on behalf of J&K.

The court asked both the counsels to inform it by October 21 about the number of trials pending in different subordinate courts as well as the matters pending in the HC against the former and sitting MPs and former MLAs.

In its order, the Supreme Court had asked the Chief Justices of High Courts to head special benches and immediately hear long-pending criminal cases against the sitting and former legislators.

“There are about 175 cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act and 14 cases are pending under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 against the sitting and former legislators,” the order said.

In a significant order, a three-judge bench of the SC requested the chief justices to take up these cases which had been on the backburner indefinitely just because the courts had granted an interim stay of trial at some point of time in the distant past.

The chief justices were asked to list such cases immediately before their own respective special benches and review if the stay on the criminal trial needed to continue at all.

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