The Supreme Court Thursday expressed concern over states ignoring the prime minister’s missive asking them to provide infrastructure and set up special CBI courts for speedy trial of graft cases. The court told the states to do so within eight weeks.
The apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya said the “prime minister’s letter (written in 2009 to all states) has been thrown in dustbin by the (Andhra Pradesh) state government”.
The court said this when the Andhra Pradesh government sought more time to set up the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) courts. The court was hearing a plea on the setting up of special courts to try corruption cases.
The prime minister had announced the setting up of 71 special courts all over the country.
Eight states, including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal and Delhi, were singled out for not acting on the prime minister’s 2009 letter asking them to set up special courts to try graft cases.
“It is an unfortunate situation. It is for them (states) to take action and not for this court to take action,” the court said.
It was the most unfortunate scenario and it was only under the possible threat of contempt against the chief secretary that the state governments take action, the judges said.
Pulling up lax state government, the court said: “Such states which have not so far set up special courts as per the prime minister’s direction should make these special courts functional in eight weeks.”
The states were also directed to create the infrastructure for these courts.
Noting that a “majority of cases taken up by special courts involve cases of public servants”, the court said that it was the duty of the chief secretaries of states to take action but they did not.
The court was informed that Delhi had 19 special CBI courts dealing with 1,042 cases.
The judges said that the high courts concerned would appoint judicial officers for these courts. They also asked the central governments to take steps for appointment of public prosecutors for these courts.