The Madras High Court is going to constitute a special bench for ensuring the quick disposal of criminal cases against current and former MPs and MLAs in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry as per the directions of a Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra on 9 November 2023, reported The Hindu.
The special bench would issue the necessary directions to the special courts hearing such cases.
On 22 November, while hearing a suo moto writ petition regarding the matter, Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala said that instructions had been given to the High Court registry. He adjourned the matter to 18 December and said that the bench is likely to be constituted by then.
Advocate S Sheik Ismail, who represented an impleading petitioner, said that the Supreme Court bench had stated that cases in which the accused could be punishable with death or life imprisonment should be taken up on priority followed by those in which the sentence was likely to be imprisonment of five years or more.
The bench stated that the trial courts should not adjourn hearings unless there were compelling reasons and cases in which stay orders were granted by High Courts should be brought before the special bench to get the stay vacated so that the trial could be concluded as soon as possible.
It mentioned that as of November 2022, there were 5175 such cases and 2116, i.e., over 40 per cent of them were pending for over five years.
Justice N Anand Venkatesh of the Madras High Court, who held the portfolio of MP/MLA cases recently, was praised by the Chief Justice of India while hearing an appeal by Higher Education Minister K Ponmudy against the suo moto revision of his acquittal in a disproportionate assets case. Justice Venkatesh had also taken up suo moto revision of the acquittal/discharge of cases against ministers Thangam Thennarasu, KKSSR Ramachandran, I Periyasamy, B Valarmathi and former chief minister O Panneerselvam (OPS).
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