The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that under the law state governments have the right to withdraw “malicious” criminal cases. The top court said that it was not against the withdrawal of such cases, but such matters should be looked into by the respective high courts. The Supreme Court also expressed concern over the inordinate delay in investigation and trial of cases registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Investigation Agency (CBI) against MPs and MLAs and asked the Center to provide necessary human resources and infrastructure. .
A bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant said it will pass a detailed order on the issue. Simultaneously, the bench said that it is not saying anything or expressing any opinion on investigating agencies like ED or CBI as it will affect their morale. But they should ensure that the hearing is completed expeditiously.
“We do not want to say anything about the investigating agencies as we do not want to demoralize them… There are more than 200 cases in these courts,” the bench said. Tushar Mehta regrets to say that these reports are incomplete. No reason has been given for not filing the charge sheet for 10 to 15 years. No purpose is served just by attaching properties worth crores of rupees.
The top court is hearing a PIL filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, seeking a life ban on public representatives convicted of heinous crimes and speedy disposal of their cases.
Senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, who was appointed as amicus curiae in the case, initially told the bench that the status reports of the CBI and ED on cases against public representatives were “disturbing” and “shocking”.
Chief Justice Raman said the court has taken note of the ED and CBI reports, but “it is easy for us to say, expedite trial, etc.” But we also know that there are many issues associated with this. There is a dearth of judges, courts and infrastructure. I have also prepared some notes in brief. A total of 76 ED cases are pending since 2012. 58 CBI cases are related to life imprisonment and the oldest case is of 2000.
The bench said that it has already expressed its displeasure and objection to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on the issue and asked him to do something. The bench said, ‘You have to do something on this issue Mr Mehta. Don’t leave us in limbo like this.’
The court said that it will issue a detailed order in the matter by this evening.