The Tamil Nadu government on Monday issued a Government Order (GO) to establish a special court in Chennai to try criminal cases against the MPs and MLAs from the state. The GO (dated September 6, 2018) says that the Central Government, in compliance of the Supreme Court’s order dated November 1, 2017, placed a scheme before the court to set up 12 fast track courts in different states to try criminal cases against the MPs and MLAs. Of the 12 courts, one court has been approved for Tamil Nadu.
“Pursuant to the aforesaid orders...the Government of Tamil Nadu, in consultation with the High Court of Madras hereby establishes a special court at Chennai having jurisdiction over the entire state of Tamil Nadu, to try criminal cases involving elected Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu,” said the order.
According to reports, Tamil Nadu is the last state to notify the formation of the special court. The other states, to which special courts have been allocated, have already begun hearing and disposing of cases.
In 2017, the Supreme Court had approved the scheme submitted by the Centre to create fast-track courts to prosecute politicians who have criminal cases on them. The order was passed by the court while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Delhi BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, seeking a lifelong ban on convicted politicians from contesting elections.
In August, the Supreme court had directed the Centre to submit a response to the number of special courts set up in the country pursuant to its order in 2017 and the number of cases pending in such courts as on August 28.
The Central government, in response, filed an affidavit stating that 12 such courts have been set up in 11 states and that 1,097 criminal cases are pending before those courts.
According to the Centre, 11 other courts have been established in 10 states -- two in Delhi and one each in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
The apex court has also said that it will monitor these special courts for speedy disposal of cases and it also sought to know from each of the states whether the courts were enough or more were needed and the number of cases that would have to be referred to the special courts. The Supreme Court has ordered the states to submit the information by October 10.