SC: Make 22 CBI courts functional in four months

The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave another four months to the central and state governments for making 22 Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) courts functional across the country so as to ensure "speedy and expeditious" disposal of corruption cases.

While extending the deadline, a Bench led by Justice G S Singhvi also warned that a failure to comply with its order would invite contempt action against chief secretaries of the states.

"We expect the Central government and the state governments to make all Central Bureau of Investigation courts functional. If not complied within four months, chief secretaries will be liable for proceedings under the Contempt of Court Act," said the Bench while pointing out that the people's confidence in administration of justice is restored by expeditious disposal of corruption cases.

The court had on January 30 directed that the Centre to set up 22 special CBI courts in a time-bound manner.

The order was passed after the Bench took note of a letter written by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to chief ministers in July 2009 for creation of additional special courts. The government had in 2009 decided to set up 71 additional special courts exclusively for trial of CBI cases in various states.

The court had earlier also asked the government to consider having a self-activating mechanism to create additional special CBI courts as soon as the pendency of corruption cases reaches an alarming number.

Observing that such a system could help decisions come in most of the corruption cases within six months, the Bench had said the government must work on such an idea where concerns over pendency of corruption cases are addressed efficaciously by adding more courts, with adequate infrastructure."

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