Public Interest Litigation filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, for the lifetime banning of convicted persons from electoral politics and for setting up of Special Courts for matters related to legislature, Executive and judiciary, was heard by the Supreme Court yesterday. The PIL seeks lifetime debarment of convicted persons from politics and also seeks constitution of Special Courts to decide criminal cases related to legislature, executive and members of Judiciary within one year.
The PIL was filed by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay back in 2016. The PIL claimed that “apart from terrorism and naxalism, the most serious threat faced by our Country is corruption and Criminalization of politics. The concern has been expressed against this obnoxious cancerous growth proving lethal to electoral politics.” The PIL also blames the parliament equally for not making any serious efforts to deal with the situation by amending the Indian Penal Code and the Representation of People’s Act.
The Courts have said various times that it wants to prevent criminalization of politics. As per the court, those who are breaking the law should not be allowed to make laws for the country. The actual problem lies in the roots of the political system of the country; there is lack of political will to combat the situation. It was further added, political parties are not in favour of higher ethical norms, and therefore they’re not making any efforts to prevent criminalization of politics.
The arguments were based on the fact that when a person from executive or judiciary is convicted for any criminal offence, they are suspended automatically and are also banned for lifetime. The PIL seeks to apply the same uniform disqualification in case of legislature as well. The matter was taken up by a bench headed by former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice UU Lalit and Justice KM Joseph back in 2018.
- The PIL seeks lifetime ban on persons convicted of criminal offence from electoral politics.
- Further, it also seeks constitution of Special Courts to decide upon criminal cases against the executive, legislature and judiciary within one year.
- The Court has decided that both the issues will be heard tomorrow.
The SC’s decision
The bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice NV Ramana heard the PIL. Senior Advocate Vijay Hansaria was appointed as the amicus curiae in the case to put forth his suggestions in the matter. Hansaria suggested that Special Courts should be set up on an experimental basis. He defended his point by giving example of the State of Orissa, where he pointed out that the rosters were clogged. It was also added by him that, in order for him to implement the said suggestions, he would be requiring district-wise figures of the number of alleged legislatures facing lifetime ban. He added that serious issues such as preparing of forensic report and witness protection take time, and therefore Special Courts are required.
Justice Ramana asked Hansaria about whether all the cases involving legislature were handled by the CBI or not. To this Hansaria responded in negative, he said “there are multiple cases. Rape cases, murder cases, etc, they are handled by different authorities.” The bench in the end decided that both the issues will be heard by the bench tomorrow.
Edited by J. Madonna Jephi
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
- LiveLaw, https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/special-courts-for-legislators-sc-will-continue-hearing-tomorrow-153472?infinitescroll=1 (last visited 5th March, 2020, 7:38 PM)