MLSharmaOn 14 September 2015, Supreme Court of India shall hear a public interest litigation petition filed by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma which seeks a direction from the Apex Court to the Governments and the High Courts to set up special fast track criminal courts in every state of India which may conduct day-to-day proceedings in the criminal cases against the present and former Members of Parliament and Members of the Legislative Assemblies.

PIL further seeks a direction that the courts so established may complete the aforesaid trials within a year and a status report in this regard may be filed before the Supreme Court.

The PIL petition shall be heard by a bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and Arun Mishra.

Case No. Writ Petition (Crl) No. 162 of 2015 (PIL)
Case Title Manohar Lal Sharma v. Union of India & Ors.
Bench Justices Kurian Joseph and Arun Mishra

The petition makes the following prayer:

set up special fast track criminal court in each state to initiate/start day-to-day proceeding in all criminal cases pending against the all ex/sitting MLAs and MPs and to complete it within a years in all over India and to file their report before this Hon’ble court in the interest of justice, etc.

Last year SC had asked to complete criminal cases covered under Sec 8, RP Act in one year

On 10 March 2014, an SC bench comprising of Justice RM Lodha (as he was then) and Justice Kurien Joseph while hearing a PIL petition – Public Interest Foundation & Ors. v. Union Of India & Anr [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 536 of 2011], had directed that trial proceedings in cases of corruption and serious crimes against elected representatives must be completed within a year.

It had ordered:

We, accordingly, direct that in relation to sitting MPs and MLAs who have charges framed against them for the offences which are specified in Section 8(1), 8(2) and 8(3) of the RP Act, the trial shall be concluded as speedily and expeditiously as may be possible and in no case later than one year from the date of the framing of charge(s). In such cases, as far as possible, the trial shall be conducted on a day-to-day basis. If for some extraordinary circumstances the concerned court is being not able to conclude the trial within one year from the date of framing of charge(s), such court would submit the report to the Chief Justice of the respective High Court indicating special reasons for not adhering to the above time limit and delay in conclusion of the trial. In such situation, the Chief Justice may issue appropriate directions to the concerned court extending the time for conclusion of the trial.

Section 8 of the Representation of Peoples Act which deals with “Disqualification [of elected representatives] on conviction for certain offences”.

Allowed to file PILs on 19 July, after an apology

On 1 May 2015, Supreme Court had issued notice to ML Sharma asking “why he should not be debarred from filing and/or canvassing any Public Interest Litigation on account of the irresponsible and scandalous allegations levelled by him”. Later on 10 July 2015, Court had accepted the unconditional apology of ML Sharma and allowed him to file Public Interest Litigation petitions with certain checks.

A week earlier, on 6 September, a bench comprising of CJI HL Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy had dismissed a PIL filed by ML Sharma which sought directions for curtailing the powers of the Ministers of the Government of India, contending that they can issue directions or policies other than those allowed under Articles 74, 77 and 78 of the Constitution of India.