In a significant ruling, the Supreme Court has directed all high courts to establish a special bench and initiate a suo motu case to oversee the prompt resolution of criminal matters involving Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs). The Chief Justice, D Y Chandrachud, led the bench that issued various directives to high courts and trial courts based on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Ashwini Upadhyay, advocating for the swift disposal of pending criminal cases against lawmakers.
The Supreme Court acknowledged the challenge of providing uniform guidelines for trial courts to expedite cases against lawmakers. Consequently, it mandated high courts to form special benches, presided over by either the chief justice or a designated bench, to monitor criminal trials involving lawmakers. High courts may request reports from special lower courts regarding the status of such trials. The judgement emphasized that trial courts should not adjourn hearings except for rare and compelling reasons.
Chief Justice Chandrachud also stressed the need for sufficient infrastructure and technological facilities in designated special courts handling cases against lawmakers, placing the responsibility on principal district and sessions judges. The PIL, filed by Ashwani Dubey, not only seeks a life-term ban on convicted politicians but also calls for expedited trials and the establishment of special courts dedicated to handling such cases nationwide.