New Delhi

 Delhi lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the Centre’s offer to set up 12 special courts was “highly inadequate” to dispose of all criminal cases pending against MPs, MLAs and MLCs in a year.

In an application submitted to the Chief Justice of India, he challenged the government’s claim of 1581 cases pending against them, asserting that their number was as high as 13,680 as per a report of the NGO, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

He, therefore, pleaded to direct the Centre to set up not less than 140 special courts to dispose of all criminal cases involving political persons.

Upadhyay said he himself tried to gather information of all such cases from the websites of the district courts, but he found the details were inadequate and required all sorts of queries to yield any results. He, therefore, wants the onus put on the legislators to disclose the pending criminal cases against them.

He sought the court’s directive to the Election Commission to immediately seek details of all pending criminal cases from the sitting MPs, MLAs and MLCs, with a proviso to render their elections null and void if they do not respond within 90 days.

“Experience shows that disposal of any criminal case takes long time, particularly when MLAs and MPs are involved, and in some cases the number of witnesses to be examined is quite high,” the lawyer said, while noting that a special court with highly competent public prosecutors and court staff can decide maximum 100 criminal cases in a year.

Based on this calculation, he, therefore, felt 140 special courts will do the justice of deciding all pending 13,680 cases within a year.

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