M A I N   N E W S

Supreme Court notice to govt on 
‘tainted’ ministers’ issue
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 29
The Supreme Court today issued a notice to the Centre on the “tainted” ministers issue, raised in a PIL petition based on reinduction of JMM leader Shibu Soren in the Council of Ministers by the Prime Minister.

A Bench of Chief Justice R C Lahoti and Mr Justice G P Mathur, while taking cognizance of the PIL, directed the Centre to submit its reply in the form of an affidavit making its stand clear.

Seeking framing of guidelines for states and the high courts for speedy trial of high-profile people, caught in criminal cases, the PIL by advocate Virendra Kumkar Ohri said, “it seems that the wheels of criminal justice system do not move at all in the cases of politicians, high officials and influential people.”

Making Soren’s 30-year-old mass murder case as the base of his PIL, the petitioner said every strategy was being adopted by them to “frustrate and delay” the trial in the criminal cases against them by misusing the state machinery.

“Since the apex court is eventually responsible for the administration of justice in the country, it has to ensure that the wheels of the criminal justice system function smoothly and should not be obstructed, frustrated and derailed by the influential accused,” the PIL said.

The court had earlier refrained from issuing a notice on Ohri’s petition as well as another petition on the identical issue on the ground that the issue of “tainted” minister was being debated in Parliament.

But the court refused to make states party to the case at this stage, though admitting that the petitioner had raised a very important public interest matter.

The petitioner, who has annexed a list of over 200 MPs and MLAs with alleged criminal background, said in the wake of cases like the one against Soren, “it is essential that the apex court must give binding directions to the high courts that the trials against influential persons and high officials should be conducted under their direct supervision and disposed of expeditiously.”

It said the trial against Soren in the 30-year-old mass murder case as well as 8-year-old case of the murder of his own secretary Shashi Nath Jha, had been delayed all these years as there was enormous delay in filing the chargesheets.

“In March this year an attempt was even made to withdraw the mass murder case against him on the ground that the accused had not appeared in the court,” the PIL said, adding that there was no scope for prosecution to make such a plea under the criminal law.

“If influential accused are allowed to get away without trial for serious criminal offences, the life and property of every citizen in the country will be in danger,” it said.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |