The Centre has agreed to constitute special courts to dispose of cases against tainted lawmakers within a year but it seems highly improbable for just 12 courts to decide all such cases - which number over 13,500 - within the timeframe envisaged. It has sought more time to collate that information. He, however, contended that it was for the state governments to set up additional courts as the issue comes within their jurisdiction. 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. These cases were decla-red by politicians in 2014 when they filed their nomination papers for the Lok Sabha polls as well as elections to eight Assemblies. On December 8, the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance gave in-principle approval for the same. The scheme allots two special courts to enable fast-track disposal of these cases at best within one year period. The Centre Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it will set up 12 special courts to speed up trials in pending cases involving MPs and MLAs in the country. During a hearing, the EC told the court that a law was needed to curb the growing menace of criminalisation of politics. The government, which has already opposed the life ban as demanded by the petitioner, said the recommendations of the poll panel and the law commission were under "active consideration". The Bench said the Supreme Court would directly interact with the State governments on issues like the appointment of judicial officers, public prosecutors, court staff and other requirements of manpower and infrastructure for the special courts. Surprisingly the Centre also submitted in the affidavit that there is no agency within Government of India for collecting the data on convicted legislators. However, even ADR did not have data on which courts these cases were pending in, said the government. In an affidavit filed in response to the court's direction, the government said the courts are to be set up at a cost of '7.80 cr for which the ministry of finance has approved. The apex court will now take up the matter on Thursday, according to News18.

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