Speed up trial of politicians, says SC: 

Speed up trial of politicians, says SC

Context:

  • A Supreme Court bench directed the Centre to frame a scheme for setting up special courts exclusively to deal with criminal cases involving political persons.

Why this scheme has been directed by SC?

  • The effort has been initiated to cleanse politics of criminality and corruption.
  • It takes years, probably decades, to complete the trial against a politician.
  • There are still 1,581 criminal cases pending against Members of Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies at the time of the 2014 elections.

What are special courts and tribunals?

  • Several specialised Courts and Tribunals are established in India to reduce the burden of pending cases.
  • These special Courts and Tribunals specialise in certain area/laws and ensure that the citizens are not overly inconvenienced in the resolution of minor disputes.

Examples of special courts and tribunals:

  1. Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT): In order to reduce the Non-Performing Assets of the Banks and Financial Institutions in the public and private sector, the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) was established.
  2. It aims for expeditious adjudication and recovery of debts due to banks and financial institutions.
  3. Consumer Court: To protect the rights of the consumers of India and establish a mechanism for settlement of consumer disputes, a three-tier redressal forum containing District, State and National level consumer forums has been setup.
  • The District Consumer Forum deals with consumer disputes involving a value of upto Rupees twenty lakh.
  • The State Commission has jurisdiction in consumer disputes having a value of upto Rs.1 crore.  
  • The National Commission deals in consumer disputes above Rs.1 crores, in respect of defects in goods and or deficiency in service.
  • Family Court: Family Courts were introduced through The Family Courts Act, 1984 to promote conciliation in and secure speedy settlement of disputes relating to marriage and family affairs.
  • Labour Court: Labour Courts deal with all types of disputes between employers and employees under Labour laws in India.
  • Motor Accident Claims Tribunal: The Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal deals with matters related to compensation of motor accidents victims or their next of kin.

Election Commission and criminal cases involving political persons:

  • The existing law disqualifies politicians sentenced to a jail term of two years or more from contesting elections for six years from the date of release from prison.
  • Election Commission favored a life term ban on MPs, MLAs from contesting election after being convicted in criminal cases.
  • But Commission supports the plea to the extent that there should be a mechanism for decriminalisation of politics.

What problems Indian judiciary is facing today?

  • Lack of judges piles up a significant amount of cases which gets unnoticed for years.
  • Lack of judges and inefficient management is the reason behind delay in justice delivery.
  • Inadequate data on pending cases and lack of scientific maintenance of data makes it difficult to analyse problems and propose sustainable solutions for the judiciary.
  • Judicial proceedings are prohibitively expensive which is a major drawback for the under privileged one.
  • Judiciary lacks expertise in dealing with new age problems like Corp Tax, Cyber laws, International treaties, Climate change and its conservative attitude is exploited and corrupt go scot free.
  • Corruption is also a major issue in judicial system as it is any other government department especially in lower courts increasing transparency and accountability corruption can be bought down.
  • Absence of separate Commercial Courts to adjudicate on disputes of civil nature resulting in large number of pending civil suits related to various business and services related disputes in the high courts.

What is the Representation of People Act, 1951?

  • Article 324 to 329 of Part XV of the Constitution deals with the electoral system in our country.
  • Constitution allows Parliament to make provisions in all matters relating to elections to the Parliament and State Legislatures.
  • In exercise of this power, the Parliament has enacted laws like Representation of the People Act 1950 (RPA Act 1950), Representation of the People Act 1951 (RPA Act 1951) and Delimitation Commission Act of 1952.

Objectives:

It is an act of Parliament of India to provide for:

  • The conduct of elections of the Houses of Parliament and to the House or Houses of the Legislature of each State,
  • the qualifications and disqualifications for membership of those Houses,
  • the corrupt practices and other offences at or in connection with such elections and
  • the decision of doubts and disputes arising out of or in connection with such elections.
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