The High Court of Madhya Pradesh while complying with the directions passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, vide order dated 16.09.2020, passed in the case of Ashwini Kumar Upadhyaya & Others vs. Union of India & Others (in W.P (Civil) No.600/2016), sought the list of all the pending cases involving sitting/former MP’s and MLA’s, and specifically those cases where a stay has been granted by the High Court.
This follow-up action by the High Court comes soon after it had registered a suo moto petition on 21.09.2020 for checking the progress of pending criminal cases against sitting/former legislators including both MP’s & MLA’s. The Apex Court of the Country, on the 16th of September 2020, ordered the Chief Justices of all the High Courts to modularize a plan of action for the disposal of criminal cases pending against legislators. This was done with an aim to take effective action against these pending criminal cases. In compliance with the Supreme Court’s orders, the State Government of Manipur has created two exclusive Special Courts for speedy disposal of such cases. These special courts are directed to conduct a trial on a day-to-day basis, with no adjournment beyond 7 days should be grated, of which reasons should be recorded. Further, the state government was asked to ensure the establishment of secured witness examination rooms and facilitate mode video conferencing in the courts for speedy disposal of cases. Meanwhile, the Karnataka High Court has issued directions to its Registrar General to take appropriate steps to effectuate a suo moto petition. The Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court, Mohammad Rafiq has also directed the Advocate General of the state to obtain details of all the pending criminal cases from all districts in Odisha, pertaining to legislators.
These voluntary initiatives taken by the various state judiciaries, in compliance with the Supreme Court orders, reaffirm their role of maintaining peace and imparting justice by providing clearance for the smooth functioning of democracy.