SC: Criminal Appeals Of MPs/MLAs To Not Be Given Priority.

SC clarifies it’s order, says priorities should not be given to MPs/MLAs in hearing their pleas.

Supreme Court clarifies it’s misunderstood order, saying that priority should not be given to criminal appeal cases related to MPs and MLAs, it also said that only pending trials of leaders can be expedited.

In July 2019, the CBI Court in Ahmedabad held former MP Dinu Solanki, his nephew Shiva Solanki and five others guilty of murdering RTI activist Amit Jethva and sentenced all the accused to life imprisonment. The seven accused preferred criminal appeals before the Gujarat High Court in 2019, which are still pending. The appeal of the accused were taken up by a special bench constituted by HC.
However, This order of the HC was challenged by Bhikhu Jethva, father of the victim, Amit Jethva, before the Supreme Court through his advocate Anand Yagnik.

Yagnik said, “Despite the order of the SC being only with regard to trials and despite the fact that thousands of appeals of other accused have been pending before the Gujarat HC, this was taken up. We were therefore constrained to move the SC challenging the hearing of appeals out of turn by the High Court of Gujarat.”

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who spoke for the convicted ex- MP, told the court that the hearing of his client’s appeals is being objected to by the complainant on the ground that Supreme Court’s order allows only expedited trials and not appeals.

The advocate stated, “ He was convicted of murder on July 6th 2019, was on bail throughout the trial, last two years he has been in jail. His appeal has been taken up for hearing on an expedited basis on grounds that he is an ex-MP. When the appeal came for hearing in last 6 months it was adjourned once or twice, the complainant doesn’t want my appeal to be heard.”

Taking note of this, the bench said that there is no question of giving priority just because the appellant happened to be an ex-MP.

“The High Court has misunderstood our order and taken your appeal out of turn”, the bench said.
It also said, “There is no question of priority but also no question of stopping the hearing of your appeal. We don’t Prevent the High Court but we don’t want to give priority to your client by virtue of this order. We’ll clarify that portion of the order. We will allow HC to hear the suspension application of Mr. Rohatgi’s client. At the same time, we don’t want to give any priority to MPs/MLAs in these cases.”

Last year, the Supreme Court had asked the High Courts to create special benches to monitor the progress of trial in cases against legislators.

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