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Appoint special PPs to expedite cases against lawmakers: legal experts

PANAJI: Legal experts have opined that the state government could appoint special public prosecutors so as to identify and expedite the cases against MPs and MLAs in Goa facing charges, which attract disqualification.
The Union Home ministry has asked all state governments to speed up cases against MPs and MLAs facing charges.
The legal experts said the state government can identify the cases which attract disqualification against MLAs and MPs and make a list of the same. The state government can accordingly use its powers to appoint special public prosecutors to monitor these cases, which will help in expediting them.
Gerson De Souza, a lawyer, said the state government can also request the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court to appoint a special judge so as to speed up the cases against the MPs and MLAs. However, he said that if we consider Goa, which is a small state, there are few MLAs and MPs. And very few of these lawmakers may have such cases pending against them. So appointment of a special judge for Goa would not be required, but this could be done for bigger states of the country.
“Any sentence which attracts punishment of two years and above can lead to disqualification of MPs or MLAs, and the disqualification continues for six years after the completion of sentence,” De Souza said.
The Union home ministry has asked all state governments to speed up cases against MPs and MLAs facing charges which attract disqualification. The direction came in the wake of Supreme Court setting a deadline to complete trial in cases involving lawmakers. The SC had said that with proceedings pending for years, lawmakers continue to enjoy membership of the legislative bodies despite being charged with heinous offences.
The SC said, “… in cases where MPs and MLAs are involved (in criminal cases) trial should get over soon. If somebody is innocent, let he or she be exonerated soon. You will yourself see a change in performance of the Parliament and assembly.”
The state governments through their public prosecutors or special public prosecutors can pray before the courts where the cases against the MPs and MLAs are pending for fast-track trial of the cases, which it could be on day-to-day basis.
In Goa, where there are not too many such cases pending, this could be done with not much difficulties.
According to a direction of the Supreme Court, cases against MPs and MLAs which attract disqualification under Section 8(1), 8(2) and 8(3) of the Representation of the People Act needed to be completed within one year of framing charges.

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