The Meghalaya High Court, on November 17, sought a report on pending criminal cases against MPs or MLAs in the state.
The instant suo-moto cases titled In-re: Designated Courts for MPs/MLAs to monitor disposal has been registered pursuant to the direction of the Supreme Court dated November 9, 2023.
The order passed by the Chief Justice (Acting) HS Thangkhiew said, “With regard to the directions at Sl. (iii), (iv) and (vi), the District and Session Judges of all the districts are directed to furnish reports with regard to any cases pending in their court. Further, the Designated Courts shall give priority as provided in the above noted para 20 (iv) as also para (vi). The direction contained in para (vii) will accordingly be carried out and the Computer Section will be directed to take necessary steps for the same.”
As per directions by the Supreme Court, the High Court may require the Principal District and Sessions Judge to bear the responsibility of allocating the subject cases to such court or courts as is considered appropriate and effective. The High Court may call upon the Principal District and Sessions Judge to send
reports at such intervals as it considers expedient.
The Supreme Court also directed that the designated courts shall give priority: “(i) first to criminal cases against MP’s & MLA’s punishable with death or life imprisonment then to (ii) cases punishable with imprisonment for 5 years or more,and then hear (iii) other cases. The Trial Courts shall not adjourn the cases except for rare and compelling reasons.”
It had also stated: “The Principal District and Sessions Judge shall ensures ufficient infrastructure facility for the designated courts and also enable it to adopt such technology as is expedient for effective and efficient functioning.”
The Apex Court had also said that the Special Bench hearing the suo-motu case may list the matter at regular intervals as is felt necessary. The High Court may issue such orders and/or directions as are necessary for expeditious and effective disposal of the subject cases. The Special Bench may consider calling upon the Advocate General or the Public Prosecutor to assist the Court.
“The learned Chief Justices may list cases in which orders of stay of trial have been passed
before the Special Bench to ensure that appropriate orders, including vacation of stay
orders are passed to ensure commencement and conclusion of trial,” it said.
Further, the Supreme Court had also directed the High Courts to create an independent tab on their website providing district–wise information about the details of the year of filing, number of subject cases pending and stage of proceedings. “We make it clear that while monitoring the subject cases, the Special Bench may pass such orders or give such additional directions as are necessary for early disposal of the subject cases,” it added.