Senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, amicus curiae in the matter, assisted by advocate Sneha Kalita, in a status report filed in a PIL by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, said: “51 Members of Parliament (MP/ex-MPs)… are accused in cases arising out of offences under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. However, the report (Centre’s status report) does not show as to how many are sitting MPs and how many are former MPs.”
He further added that 71 MLAs/ MLCs are accused in cases arising out of offences under the same act but, the report does not show as to how many MLAs/MLCs are sitting and/or former legislators, he added.
The report said the total number of cases pending trial as of December 2021 are 4,984, where cases pending for more than five years are 1,899, while those between two to five years are 1,475, and those pending for less than two years are 1,599. Since October 4, 2018, a total of 2,775 cases have been disposed of, it added.
The report, in connection with drug cases, said no criminal case is pending against any sitting or former MP/MLA in the Narcotics Control Bureau and four cases are pending with the National Investigation Agency, out of which, two are against sitting MPs/MLAs.
Hansaria is acting as amicus curiae in the petition filed by Upadhyay. In 2018, the apex court issued the directive to set up special courts to expedite trials of cases against MPs and MLAs and since then, it has issued many directions, including asking the Centre to set up a monitoring committee to examine reasons for delay of investigation in cases.
He said the report filed by the CBI showed that the total number of cases pending trial against MPs/MLAs is 121, which involves as many as 14 sitting MPs, while 37 former MPs faced the CBI cases and five of the accused lawmakers had expired. Total number of MLAs involved in CBI cases are recorded as 112, which includes 34 sitting MLAs, and 78 former ones, while nine others had expired.
Pointing at glaring and inordinate delays, Hansaria’s report further added that out of these MPs/MLAs cases, the cases punishable with life imprisonment are 58 and the cases where charges have not been framed are 45.
The amicus submitted that despite a series of directions by this court and continuous monitoring, a large number of criminal cases are pending against MPs/MLAs and many of them are pending for more than 5 years.
The report suggested that a monitoring committee may be constituted for the ED and the CBI cases, which may constitute of former judge of the apex court or the former Chief Justice of a high court, ED Director (or his nominee not below the rank of Additional Director), Director, CBI (or his nominee not below the rank of Additional Director), Home Secretary to the Government of India (or his nominee not below the rank of Joint Secretary), and a judicial officer not below the rank of district judge to be nominated by the apex court.