Expressing dissatisfaction over the lackluster attitude adopted by the police towards the pending criminal cases against legislators in the State, the Jharkhand High Court on Thursday directed DGP DK Pandey to submit a detailed status report mentioning their names in tabular form.

A division bench of Justice Apresh Kumar Singh and Justice Rajesh Kumar also summoned CID SP YS Ramesh in the court to inform the court about current status of investigations being done in this regard.

Ramesh informed the court that out of 118 criminal cases against 49 MLAs in the State, investigations have been completed in 109 cases and charge sheet has been filed in 98 cases while investigations were still on in the rest of the nine cases.

The CID SP also told the court that trial was being conducted in 63 cases and a final report had been submitted in 11 cases.

“DGP DK Pandey has been asked to file a detailed status report in tabular form mentioning names of the MLAs in it by next date,” said the petitioner’s advocate, Rajiv Kumar. The court also expressed dissatisfaction over the status report submitted by the State Government, he added. “The affidavit submitted by the State Government on Thursday mentioned only district-wise cases pending against the MLAs,” said Kumar.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by ‘Jharkhand against Corruption’, led by anti-corruption activist Durga Oraon, seeking speedy disposal of cases pending against the MLAs.

According to the PIL, as many as 59 out of 81 legislators of the State were facing criminal charges, 20 of them having serious charges against them.

The list of the legislators facing serious charges includes MLAs of almost all parties in Jharkhand.

‘Jharkhand against Corruption’ in its PIL has demanded speedy trial in the cases pending against the legislators and dispose the cases against them immediately.

The PIL was filed in the backdrop of the Supreme Court ruling, striking down a provision in the election law that shields members of Parliament and state legislatures from being disqualified on account of conviction.

The Supreme Court had quashed as unconstitutional Section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act (RPA) that protects the membership of an MP or an MLA if he or she files an appeal within three months of conviction.

Significantly, the Apex Court had admitted a petition filed by the Centre seeking review of its order on disqualifying convicted MPs and MLAs.

Interestingly, Jharkhand tops the list in having criminal cases against MLAs in the country as 68 per cent of them while contesting elections had declared that cases were pending against them in the different courts.

According to a report issued by ‘Association for Democratic Reforms,’ Bihar is on the second position with 58 per cent while Maharashtra is on third position with 57 per cent of tainted MLAs.  

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