NEW DELHI - In order to expedite proceedings against sitting Members of Parliament and Members Legislative Assemby in criminal cases, Supreme Court on March 10 set a deadline for lower courts to complete trial in cases involving lawmakers within a year of framing of charges. A Bench heading the highest judicial forum, also said that trial courts will have to give explanation to the Chief Justice of the respective High Court if the trial is not completed within a year.
The Bench, however, said the period can be extended by the Chief Justice of the High Court if he is satisfied with the reason given by trial judge for not completing the trial within this period. It said all such proceedings involving lawmakers must be conducted on a day-to-day basis in order to expedite the trial. As the trial is kept pending for years, lawmakers continue to enjoy membership of the legislative body despite being charged in a heinous offence, the court noted. The court passed the order on a PIL filed by an NGO, Public Interest Foundation, seeking its direction for expeditious trial in cases involving lawmakers. The NGO contended that MPs and MLAs continue to be Members of Parliament and Assembly for a long time due to delay in proceedings. (PTI)