SC sets one year period for trial of criminal cases against MPs and MLAs

In a bid to ensure expeditious proceedings against sitting MPs and MLAs involved in criminal cases, the Supreme Court today set a deadline for lower courts to complete trial within a year of framing of charges in cases involving lawmakers, PTI reports.

A bench headed by justice RM Lodha said the trial courts would need to offer an explanation to the chief justice of the respective high court if the trial was not completed within a year, according to the report.

However, the bench said the period could be extended by the chief justice if he was satisfied with the reason offered by the trial judge.

The apex court said such proceedings involving lawmakers would need to be conducted on a day-to-day basis in order to expedite the trial.

The apex court bench observed that as the trial was kept pending for years, lawmakers continued to enjoy membership of the legislative body despite facing charges of heinous offence.

The order was passed by the Supreme Court on a public interest litigation filed by an NGO, Public Interest Foundation, as it sought its direction for expeditious trial in cases involving lawmakers.