NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the central government to match its commitment to decriminalise politics by setting up special courts to exclusively try pending criminal cases against politicians in a timebound manner. It has given the government six weeks to come up with a scheme to set up the special courts.
“On the one hand, you say you want to decriminalise, you make a commitment. On the other hand, you say law and justice is a state subject and wash your hands off the matter,” a two-judge bench, comprising justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha, said. Justice Gogoi is next in line to be the Chief Justice of India.
“Set up special courts,” Justice Gogoi told ASG Atmaran Nadkarni when he said the Centre was committed to cleanse the political system from criminal elements.
Nadkarni, who spoke after the Election Commission called for a life-time ban on convicted politicians, said the issue of decriminalising politics was “top priority”.
“Decriminalisation has to be done,” he said. He, however, insisted he had never come across any instance in which a politician, after facing a sixyear disqualification, has contested elections again “though they have put up wives, daughters and sons”.
The ASG was noncommittal about a suggestion by PIL petitioners for a life-time ban on convicted politicians. “That is under consideration,” he said.
Two PILs, one by NGO Lok Prahari and another by BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, have demanded a life-time ban on convicted politicians, implementation of earlier court orders that mandated timebound disposal of such cases, and automatic disqualification of convicted lawmakers.