Can't direct suspension of MPs, MLAs chargesheeted for crimes against women: SC

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Friday declined to hear a plea for disqualification of MPs and MLAs chargesheeted for crime against women but agreed to go into issues of fast track trial of rape cases and implementation of laws for safety of women.

The apex court, which was hearing two PILs filed after the December 16 gangrape incident, said it can only give notice to the government on limited issues as some of the prayers made in the petitions were beyond its jurisdiction.

"The issue of disqualification of MPs and MLAs is not in our jurisdiction," a Bench comprising Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra said.

"What is our power on MPs and MLAs. Obviously, such a sweeping relief can't be sought," the bench said referring to the prayer made for a direction for suspension of MPs and MLAs who have been chargesheeted for crime against women.

The Bench, during the hearing, suggested that the PIL petitioners should have taken a ground that if the investigation into the cases was not up to the mark, it should be treated as "misconduct" on the part of the Investigating Officer.

The Bench also asked the government to apprise it about the terms and references of Justice J S Verma committee which was set up to review and strengthen the existing law on rape and offences against women.

While the submission was made about the disqualification of politicians facing criminal cases, the Bench observed that without going into the status of a person in life, they should be put on fast track trial.

The Bench was told that out of 4,835 MPs and MLAs in the country, 1448 are facing criminal cases.

However, the Bench said at the moment it was not concerned with the issue and decided to hear the PIL on the limited issues.

... contd.

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