In view of more than 1,500 cases pending against lawmakers, the Centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that 12 special courts will be set up to fast track cases against lawmakers across the country and Rs 7.8 crore has been allocated for it.
The government submission came in response to the Supreme Court direction to the Centre for a status update on 1,581 cases against lawmakers.
The apex court had asked the Centre to chalk out a plan for exclusive fast-track courts and to earmark funds for speedy disposal of the cases.
The top court is hearing a petition from Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, a lawyer and a member of the BJP, who has also argued against the present system of barring a convicted lawmaker from contesting elections for six years. The petitioner said a lifetime-ban is required ~ a suggestion the top court had agreed with during the last hearing on 1 November.
If the court decides on a life-time ban, it could end the electoral career of politicians like Lalu Prasad, the former Chief Minister of Bihar convicted in fodder scam, and stop VK Sasikala ~ currently in jail in a corruption case ~ from beginning one. The Centre and the Election Commission, however have been at odds over the duration of the ban.
The Centre has taken the stance that the current six years is enough. The Election Commission has supported a life-time ban after an initial ambivalent stand that had received a sharp response from the court. “If you don’t want to be independent, constrained by the legislature, say so,” the bench had remarked.