SC asks govt to speed up corruption trials

Urging the Centre to complete trials in corruption cases within a year to enhance the public confidence in justice delivery system, the Supreme Court on Thursday sought details on how many additional special CBI courts need to be set up by the government to meet the target of time-bound disposal of cases.

The Bench comprising G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya asked the Centre to file a comprehensive affidavit on the number of new special courts needed when it was informed that the number of pending corruption cases had gone up from 6,000 to 11,000 in the last five years.

The Bench also sought information on how many special posts were required to be created in the CBI's investigation and prosecution wings to facilitate conclusion of trials in corruption cases in a year.

"At present, about 11,000 cases are pending. CBI is not properly equipped. If a person accused of amassing ill-gotten wealth is not punished within reasonable time, what will be the common man's perception about the criminal justice system? Why do you not take steps to increase the confidence of the public?" observed the Bench.

"You have not placed adequate resources at its disposal. It (CBI) cannot be blamed," said the Bench.

It said that another 210 special courts are needed to deal with more than then 1,000 cases pending in different part of the country, which are being handled by the CBI.

It also expressed its displeasure that even the Prime Minister's letter to all the states' chief ministers for creating special courts had failed to yield satisfactory results.

The court would also consider whether a concurrence of state government is needed for the Centre to create special courts or the Centre could suo motu establish such courts under Article 247 of the Constitution. Article 247 empowers the Parliament to establish any additional courts for the better administration of laws made by Parliament or of any existing laws with respect to a matter enumerated in the Union List.

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