CBI, ED can’t keep sword hanging over accused: Supreme Court

Source: Times of India

What is the news?

The Supreme Court recently stated that the investigation agencies (CBI, ED) should not keep the “sword hanging” over the accused and there must be time-bound completion of investigations.

About the case:

The Supreme Court is hearing a petition against the delay by the agencies in prosecuting MPs and MLAs in cases registered against them years ago.

CBI, ED can’t keep sword hanging over accused_SC
Source: TOI
About the delays in the investigation:
  1. As per the report filed by the amicus curiae, 51 MPs and 71 MLAs/MLCs are accused in cases arising out of offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
  2. A total of 121 CBI cases against MPs/MLAs are pending before the court. Of these, 58 cases are punishable with death or life imprisonment. The oldest case is from 2000 and 37 cases are still under investigation.
Court observations about Issues with CBI and ED probes:
  1. The court refused to pass an order directing the agencies to complete the probe in all cases involving lawmakers within six months. The court cited two reasons for that,
    1. It would demoralize the investigating agencies.
    2. The lack of Judges in the Judiciary to conduct the trial if such order was pronounced.
  2. The Court asked for the Centre’s response on a suggestion to set up a monitoring committee to ensure that the probe is completed within a reasonable time. The committee will consist of the following members,
    1. Former SC judge or former HC chief justice
    2. ED director (or his nominee not below the rank of an additional director),
    3. CBI director (or his nominee, not below the rank of an additional director),
    4. Home Secretary (or his nominee not below the rank of joint secretary),
    5. A judicial officer not below the rank of a district judge to be nominated by SC.
  3. The bench also decided to have a meeting with CBI and ED to discuss the need for additional manpower and expansion of infrastructure to enable the agencies to complete their tasks in time.

Amicus curiae: An amicus curiae is someone who is not a party to a case who assists a court by offering information, expertise, or insight that has a bearing on the issues in the case. The decision on whether to consider an amicus brief lies within the discretion of the court.

Terms to know:

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