A division bench of chief justice Abhay Oka and justice Ashok S Kinagi have directed the registrar general to register a suo-motu petition to formulate a policy to rationalise the disposal of criminal cases pending against the legislators. The registrar general is asked to place the petition for hearing before the court on 23 September.
On September 17, the apex court passed an order in which it asked the registrar general to focus upon some of the following aspects-:
1. Total number of pending cases in each district.
2. Number of courts that are currently available.
3. Tenure of judges to be designated.
4. Number of cases to be assigned to each case.
5. Expected time for disposal of cases.
6. Distance of the courts to be designated.
7. Number of judges and the subject categories of the cases.
8. Required number of proportionate special courts.
The chief justices of the High Courts should send their action plans with their comments and suggestions to the Secretary General of the Supreme Court within a week including a report of the ongoing cases in expeditious manner and whether they should be transferred to another court or not. The Chief Justices have been asked to list down all the pending cases involving sitting/former legislators and they are also asked to designate a special bench comprising themselves and their designate in order to monitor the progress of the trials.
Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadgi is directed to represent the state government or he can nominate an additional Advocate General to represent the state. Senior Aditya Sondhi is appointed as an amicus curiae to assist the court. It is advised that the court must first decide whether to grant the stay or not and if the stay is necessary for an event,the court should hear the matter on a day to day basis and dispose of the same promptly within a period of two months without any unnecessary adjournment.
The Apex court also affirmed that the COVID-19 condition should not be a barrier to the compliance of this direction as these matters can be handled conveniently through video conferencing.
-Bhavya Nayyar (LC Content Writer)