Fast-track cases against tainted lawmakers, centre to tell states

Under a Supreme Court directive to fast-track cases involving lawmakers – as also Prime Minister Narendra Modi's drive to clean up politics – the union government is preparing to write to state governments to speed up cases against MPs and MLAs facing charges which attract disqualification.

The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by home minister Rajnath Singh and attended by law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and top home and law ministry officials, besides attorney-general Mukul Rohatgi.

"It is a priority commitment of the Narendra Modi government that the polity needs to be cleansed. Those against whom criminal cases are pending, that trial needs to be expedited. If they are clean, they will be acquitted. If they are not, the law will take its own course," Prasad told reporters in New Delhi on Monday.

Prasad said cases against MPs and MLAs which attract disqualification under Section 8(1), 8(2) and 8(3) of the Representation of the People Act needed to be completed within one year of framing of charges, according to a 10 March 10 direction of the Supreme Court.

Any sentence which attracts punishment of two years or more can lead to disqualification from Parliament or a state legislature. "The government is going to follow up the direction of the Supreme Court in a substantial way, whereby the home minister shall be writing to all chief ministers of the states, and I will be writing to all law ministers of the states to ensure compliance with this provision," Prasad said.

He said this will be a big step in cleansing the politics of the country.

Reports said the attorney-general is likely to inform the apex court about the government decision in this regard.