Supreme Court orders Special Benches to Fast track MP and MLA Poll Cases

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Stating that it’s “most undesirable” to see an MP or MLA continue even for a day if they had been elected through illegal means, the Supreme Court of India asked new special benches to be formed in a bid to solve poll related cases against MPs and MLAs.

The apex court ordered the creation of earmarked benches with judges given the responsibility of determining the merits of election petition since “very rarely an election dispute gets resolved during the tenure of the declared candidate, reducing the adjudicatory process into a mockery of justice”.

“We deem it desirable that in each high court, dedicated benches are created by the chief justice to deal with the election petitions exclusively. Those judges assigned with the adjudication of election petitions, preferably, may not be burdened with any other work until the adjudication of the election petitions is completed,” the bench said.

The court issued the order while hearing the plea by a Congress candidate Mohd Akbar. Akbar, in his petition, complained that his opponent Ashok Sahu (BJP), who won from Kawardha assembly constituency in Chhattisgarh, was constantly being delayed for the past two years.

It is worth mentioning here that Akbar’s plea had been rejected by the High Court before he appealed against the ruling in the apex court.

Terming membership of legislative bodies a “sacred responsibility”, the SC stated: “The continuance of any member in such bodies who secured his election to such a body by legally impermissible means even for a day is most undesirable. Such continuance affords an opportunity to such a member to take part in the law-making process affecting the destinies of the people.”

“The power and glory that go with such membership is too high and valuable and the returned candidates naturally would leave no stone unturned for protracting the litigation as long as possible,” it added.

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