Notice to centre on MPs facing criminal charges

November 4th, 2011 - 9:52 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 4 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday issued notice to the central and state governments on a petition seeking fast tracking of trial of cases against 162 MPs facing serious criminal charges.

An apex court bench headed by Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Jasti Chelameswar said that if it was true that 162 MPs faced criminal charges, then it was “very disturbing”.

The observation came when senior counsel Rajiv Dhawan, appearing for former Chief Election Commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh and other eminent persons, told the court that the number of such MPs was steadily going up.

While issuing the notice, the court observed that all states had fast track courts and asked why these cases were not being given priority.

Seeking the transfer of all these cases to fast track courts, Lyngdoh in his petition said the presence of such a large number in parliament and in state assemblies contaminated the social-political fabric of India.

The petition said this led to a serious weakening of the entire system which was in evidence.

“We have long witnessed criminals being wooed by political parties and given executive posts, especially in state governments, because their muscle and money power fetches crucial votes,” the petition said.

“Elections are won and lost on swings of just one percent of the vote, so parties cynically woo every possible vote bank, including those headed by accused robbers and murderers.

“Legal delays ensure that the accused will die of old age before being convicted, so parties virtuously insist that these chaps must be regarded as innocent till proved guilty,” it said.

The petition said that it was through such elected representatives that people elected “our prime ministers, chief ministers and other ministers.

“Thus, there is an urgent need that through speedy trials and independent investigations, they should get an opportunity to clear their names in a short span of six months from the day they get elected or face the consequences for their past criminal actions.”

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