Srinagar: The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh has directed the Advocate General (AG) and Assistant Solicitor General of India (ASGI) to furnish a list of cases pending against the former, sitting MPs and ex-MLAs in the twin Union Territories
Befitting the directions of the Supreme Court for monitoring the progress of the trial of cases pending against the sitting and former legislators, the High Court of J&K and Ladakh has registered a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) as “Court on its own motion versus Union of India and others”.
It is pertinent to mention here that on September 16, 2020, the Supreme Court while hearing a petition filed by one Ashwani Kumar Upadhaya, had observed that one of the main objectives behind issuing notice in the Writ Petition and the various orders that have been passed time to time by this court was to ensure that criminal prosecutions against elected representatives are concluded expeditiously.
In the issued order, the Apex Court was of the opinion that such special consideration was required not only because of the rising wave of criminalization that was occurring in the politics in the country, but also due to the power that elected representatives wield, to influence or hamper effective prosecution.
“As legislators are the repositories of the faith and trust of their electorate, there is a necessity to be aware of the antecedents of the person that is or was elected. Ensuring the purity of democratically elected institutions is thus the hallmark of the present proceedings.” The order read.
Taking cognizance of the directions contained by the Supreme Court passed in Writ Petition(Civil) No 699/2016, the Division Bench of acting Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul has mentioned that, “Keeping in view the given suo-moto motion, the Union of India shall be represented through Home Secretary, Union Territory of J&K through Commissioner Secretary, Home and Union Territory of Ladakh through Commissioner Secretary, Home”.
Shortly after, the High Court arrayed the Union Home Secretary, J&K’s Commissioner Secretary Home and Commissioner Secretary Home Ladakh as respondents,Tahir Majid Shamsi, ASGI, accepted notice on behalf of Ministry of Home Affairs and UT of Ladakh while Advocate General D.C.Raina accepted on behalf of J&K.
“Let the respondents be arrayed accordingly and notice be issued to them,” the bench directed.
The Division Bench has asked both learned counsel to inform the Court by 21st October, about the number of trials that are pending in different subordinate courts of the erstwhile state as well as the matters that are pending in the High Court against the legislators.
It is worthwhile to mention here that in the significant order, the Supreme Court had said, “there are about 175 cases pending under the Prevention of Corruption Act and 14 cases are pending under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 against sitting and former legislators”.
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