Create exclusive courts to try cases against MPs, MLAs: Manipur High Court tells state

The exclusive courts is to be called Special Court (MP/MLA), Manipur.

The High Court (HC) of Manipur has directed the state government to create two exclusive special courts to conduct trials of cases against former and sitting legislators (MPs/MLAs).

The exclusive courts, which will be based in Imphal at the Sessions and Magisterial levels having jurisdiction over whole of Manipur, is to be known as Special Court (MP/MLA), Manipur.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Ramalingam Sudhakar and Justice A Bimol, issued the order in compliance with the Supreme Court order asking 25 states and union territories and the high courts to place before it full and complete updated information about the status of cases pending against MPs and MLAs. This followed after some states failed to furnish the details of pending cases and progress against legislators despite the several orders issued by the apex court.

The apex court had issued directions, suggestion and guidelines to be followed in relation to cases registered against the sitting and former MPs and MLAs, and that these cases should be investigated without undue delay. Wherever the charge sheet has not been filed, it should be filed in time and the special courts dealing with the cases should expedite the trial on priority basis, there should not be any scope of delay.

The HC asked the state and respondents to examine the SC orders of September 10 and 16, 2020.

To operate the Special Courts, the state government was asked to create two cadre posts of Manipur Judicial Services in Grade-I & II (MJS Grade-I: 1 post, MJS Grade-II: 1 post along with 2 posts of Special Public Prosecutor) among others.

Till the two special courts are created, the state has been directed to designate the courts of additional District & Sessions Judge (FTC), Manipur West and Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal East as Special Courts No.1 & No.2, Manipur. Moreover, the HC asked the state to sanction funds for creating the infrastructure for the two proposed Special Courts, staff.

To assist the courts for effective monitoring, the HC also appointed Y. Nirmolchand Singh as Amicus Curiae.

Separate directive was also issued to the chief secretary, law secretary, and director general of police, director of prosecution, director of FSL, and director of special agencies.

Direction to DGP

A Nodal Prosecution Officer not below the rank of additional superintendent of police shall be designated to ensure production of accused persons before the respective Special Courts and execution of NBWs issued by the Courts.

The Officer shall also be responsible for service of summons to the witnesses and their appearance and deposition in the courts. Any lapse on the part of the Nodal Prosecution Officer will make him/her liable to disciplinary proceedings apart from initiation of contempt of court proceedings.

In the suo motu PIL, the Director General of Police shall designate a senior Police Officer of the rank not below Inspector General of Police who shall be present in the Court in each hearing to collect and provide requisite information to the Court as and when the case is listed for hearing.

The Director General of Police, State of Manipur shall direct all Investigating Officers to complete the investigations in respect of criminal cases filed against former and sitting MPs/MLAs and submit reports under Section 173 CrPC without any further delay.

To Prosecution

The Director of Prosecution shall ensure that the reports submitted by the I.O.s under Section 173 CrPC shall be processed on priority basis and submitted to the concerned Special Courts immediately. Any delay on the part of the Director of Prosecution will be viewed as disobeying the order of this Court.

2. The Director will ensure without fail that all pending NBWs, summons, etc. issued by the Special Courts shall be executed on time. A compliance report be submitted to this Court through the Public Prosecutor. The appearance of the accused, witnesses and experts shall be ensured in the day-to-day trial.

To director Forensic

The Director, FSL, Manipur shall ensure that test reports in connection with criminal cases against former and sitting MPs/MLAs be completed on priority basis and shall be forwarded to the Investigation Agency and/or the Special Courts, as the case may be without any further delay. All pending reports to be processed and reported.

Video Conferencing facility should be available in the FSL itself so that the same may be used at the time of trial.

To special agencies

The Special Agencies such as CBI, NIA, etc. shall ensure that pending investigations of criminal cases against former and sitting MPs/MLAs shall be completed as soon as possible and submit the reports under Section 173 CrPC promptly. They will complete all required formalities for speeding up the trial on day-to-day basis.

First Published:Oct. 2, 2020, 12:12 a.m.

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