The Supreme Court on Thursday expressed displeasure over the Centre not furnishing details sought by it on setting up of special courts to exclusively deal with cases involving politicians, saying the government is “unprepared”.
“The government is compelling us to pass certain orders which we do not want to at this stage,” a bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, adding “the Union of India is unprepared”.
“The Union of India doesn’t appear to be ready and prepared,” it said.
The bench perused the additional affidavit filed by the government in which it has said that as per the apex court’s direction, they had released funds to 11 states to set up 12 such special courts.
Regarding the apex court’s query including on the number of cases pending before each of these special courts, the Centre has said the Ministry of Law and Justice was “regularly taking up the matter with the concerned authorities for furnishing the information regarding the cases transferred/disposed/pending in the said court(s)”.
The bench posted the matter for further hearing on September 12.
In its affidavit filed in the court, the Centre has said that two special courts were to be set up in Delhi and one each in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
“All the state governments/High Courts have issued the notifications for setting up of special court(s) in their respective states; except for state of Tamil Nadu, wherein it has been informed that the proposal is under consideration of the High Court of Madras,” the affidavit said.
Regarding the top court’s query on whether the Centre intended to set up more special courts over and above these 12, the affidavit said the High Courts of Karnataka, Allahabad, Madhya Pradesh, Patna, Calcutta and Delhi “have informed that there is no requirement of additional special court(s) while the High Court of Bombay has expressed the requirement of an additional court.”
The affidavit sought a direction that if additional courts were required, they should be set up within the allocations available with the states or from their own resources.
Regarding queries posed in November last year including on how many of 1,581 cases involving MPs and MLAs were disposed of within the time-frame of one year, the affidavit said that “updated information on the queries” would be separately filed by the legislative department of the ministry.
On August 21, the court had asked the Centre to inform it about how many special courts have been set up to exclusively deal with cases involving politicians after its order last year.
The top court had on December 14 last year directed the Centre to set up 12 special courts to exclusively deal with cases involving politicians and that these should start functioning from March 1 this year.
The top court was hearing the petition filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay who has sought to declare provisions of the Representation of the People Act, which bar convicted politician from contesting elections for six years after serving jail term, as ultra vires of the Constitution.