The jurisdiction of the special criminal courts, adjudicating cases against MPs and former MPs and sitting MPs, must be in accordance with the statutes and there would be a “very serious problem” if this tribunal were to rule on this aspect, noted orally the Supreme Court on Monday.
The observations came as the highest court agreed to consider the legal question of whether minor criminal offenses, tried by a high court, against lawmakers, can be prosecuted in a special court presided over. by a courtroom judge, who is the oldest of a judicial magistrate and, therefore, would result in the deprivation of a judicial body of the right of appeal which is normally available to all defendants.
A bench led by Chief Justice NV Ramana was informed by senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, representing Abdullah Azam Khan, the political son of party leader Samajwadi Azam Khan, that his client has been sued by a special court, headed by a judge of the sessions, in cases which should have been tried by magistrates because they are minor offenses.
“We have no problem with cases being pursued at the level of the sessional court, but this must be provided for either by law or by article 142 of the Constitution,” the senior lawyer told the court. judiciary which also included Judges DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant.
The higher court appeared at first glance to agree with the submissions and said: âThere are two distinct questions here and with regard to the jurisdiction of this court (apex) it can order that a judge or court to particular first instance or the special court. to judge a certain type of cases under article 142 (special power) of the Constitution and which cannot be called into question. He said the other separate issue was what would be the nature of the jurisdiction of these special courts.
âThis competence must be in accordance with the law. This would either be under the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure) or if there is a special law such as the SC / ST law of the Corruption Prevention Law. It must comply with the statutes. If the statutes say that the offense is tried by a district court, then this court while exercising its power under article 142 cannot say that the jurisdiction will be exercised by a court of sessions and because this will be a very serious problem, âthe bench mentioned.
He also referred to article 377 of the CrPC and stated that it provides for an appeal to the judge of sessions if the order was made by a magistrate and to a high court if the order is made by the judge of the sessions.
âThe constitution of the special tribunal in itself presents no difficulty. As for setting up a special court to try coal scam cases, there was no difficulty at all …, he observed.
The court, which heard the PIL filed in 2016 asking for a life ban on lawmakers convicted in heinous criminal cases and a swift resolution of cases against them, has now reserved the case for hearing on November 24.
Previously, he had authorized Bombay, Allahabad and the High Courts of the Punjab Haryana to transfer certain special judges, judging criminal cases against sitting and former MPs and MPs and former MPs, to other courts in their respective states for reasons including “Administrative requirements” and asked them to quickly find suitable substitutes to ensure that such trials are not delayed.
The Supreme Court, which heard a PIL filed by lawyer and BJP chief Ashwini Upadhyay, has issued numerous instructions from time to time to ensure a swift investigation by the CBI and other agencies and the conclusion of the trials.
He had ordered the creation of additional special courts by the high courts.
He had expressed “deep concern” at the investigation and belated prosecution of the CBI cases against lawmakers and issued a host of instructions to ensure a speedy investigation by the agency and the conclusion of the trials, including more to create additional special tribunals by the high courts.
He had asked the higher courts to create special courts whenever such additional courts are to be constituted for the speedy resolution of pending cases and to inform him of any “non-cooperation from the central government or the states” on the matter. .
According to the CBI report, 121 cases were pending before various CBI courts involving sitting and former MPs and 112 pending cases against sitting and former MPs.
Taking note of the situation reports, he said that the high courts will constitute special IWC tribunals wherever they are needed to be set up for the swift elimination of pending trials.
Special courts are to be set up in different parts of states where more than 100 cases are pending to ensure easy access to witnesses and decongestion of existing infrastructure, he said.
(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)