From now onwards, all criminal cases against MLAs and MPs in Meghalaya will be heard by a special bench presided by the Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court or a bench assigned by the court.
Following the judgement of the Supreme Court on November 9 passed in the matter of Writ Petition (C) No. 699 of 2016 (Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay vs. Union of India & Anr), the Meghalaya High Court has registered an instant suo-moto case which had been titled In- Re: Designated Courts for MPs/MLAs to monitor disposal of cases against MLAs and MPs in Meghalaya.
The order was passed by Acting Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court Justice Hamarsan Singh Thangkhiew on November 17.
Further, copies of the order have been sent to all District and Session Judges of all the districts under the jurisdiction of the Meghalaya High Court.
The District and Session Judges of all the districts were also directed to furnish reports with regard to any cases pending in their court.
The Meghalaya High Court has also decided that the next hearing on the matter will be held on December 11.
It may be mentioned that the Supreme Court in its judgement passed on November 9 has directed the Chief Justices of the High Courts to register a suo-motu case with the title, “In Re: designated courts for MPs/MLAs” to monitor early disposal of criminal cases pending against the members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies. The suo-motu case may be heard by the special bench presided by the Chief Justice or a bench assigned by them.
It was also directed that the special bench hearing the suo-motu case list the matter at regular intervals as is felt necessary. The High Court will issue such orders or directions as are necessary for expeditious and effective disposal of the subject cases. The special bench may consider calling upon the Advocate General or the Public Prosecutor to assist the court in the matter.
As per the judgement, the designated courts shall give priority first to criminal cases against MPs and MLAs punishable with death or life imprisonment then to cases punishable with imprisonment for five years or more, and then hear other cases.
“The trial courts shall not adjourn the cases except for rare and compelling reasons,” the Supreme Court said.
It also directed the Chief Justices of High Courts to list cases in which orders of stay of trial have been passed before the special bench to ensure that appropriate orders, including vacation of stay orders are passed to ensure commencement and conclusion of trial.
Further, the High Courts were directed to create an independent tab on their website providing district-wise information about the details of the year of filing, number of subject cases pending and stage of proceedings. While monitoring the subject cases, the special bench may pass orders or give additional directions as are necessary for early disposal of the subject cases.