SC shocked to hear oldest pending criminal case against MPs/MLAs is from 1983

After finding out one of the oldest criminal cases pending against MPs/MLAs in Punjab dates back to 1983, the Supreme Court on Thursday expressed shock.

The remarks from the bench comprising Justices N.V. Ramana, Surya Kant and Hrishikesh Roy came on a PIL seeking lifetime ban on people, who have been convicted in a criminal case, from contesting elections.

The amicus curiae, senior advocate Vijay Hansaria cited the March 5 order of the apex court, which directed to furnish reports regarding pending cases MPs and MLAs.

Justice Ramana asked the amicus which is the oldest pending case. The counsel replied the oldest case dates back to 1983 and it is from Punjab.

“This is shocking,” Justice Ramana said.

The bench asked why is a case regarding life imprisonment pending for 36 years? The counsel appearing for Punjab said he will look into the matter and inform on the next hearing.

The apex court asked the Centre to clarify its stand on life time ban on contesting elections within 6 weeks.

Data provided by all the High Courts to the Supreme Court has revealed that 4,442 cases are pending against sitting and former MPs and MLAs in different courts, including special courts designated to try these cases.

A report compiled by amicus curiae and senior advocate Vijay Hansaria said: “In 2,556 cases sitting legislators are accused persons. The number of legislators involved are more than total number of cases since there are more than one accused in one case, and the same legislator is an accused in more than one case.”

The report was filed on an order passed by the top court on a PIL by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, who urged the court to give directions for speedy trial of criminal cases against sitting and former lawmakers.

The top court had directed the Registrar Generals of all High Courts to bring on record the information in connection with pending cases against lawmakers. “There are 413 cases in respect of offences which are punishable with imprisonment for life, out of which in 174 cases sitting MPs/MLAs are accused,” the affidavit said.