The Delhi High Court held that Special Courts can try criminal cases against former MPs/MLAs also.

The rejection comes in response to a petition filed by ex-MLA and National Secretary of BJP, Manjinder Singh Sirsa, who argued that once a person ceased to be a sitting MP/MLA, the special court cannot expand jurisdiction to try such cases.

A Single Bench of Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma observed “Special Courts were constituted to try offences alleged against sitting or former MPs/MLAs, and the Hon‟ble Apex Court nowhere has observed that the Special Courts shall try only those offences where accused was a sitting MP/MLA, at the time of commission of offence.

Advocate R.K. Handoo represented the petitioner, while APP Manoj Pant appeared for the respondents.

The High Court examined the ACMM’s Order had held that when an offence is allegedly committed by either a former or sitting legislator, such cases can be tried by the Special Court. The Order highlighted that the Special Courts were established to ensure the expeditious disposal of cases against MPs/MLAs, regardless of their current status.

The Court referred to the directions issued by the Supreme Court in Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India & Anr. (W.P. (C) 699/2016) on electoral reforms. These directions include the setting up of Special Courts in various States including the State of Delhi, to escalate trials dealing with criminal cases in which MPs/MLAs are involved.

The Court noted "Consequently, this Court lacks the jurisdiction to interpret the decision in a manner that deviates from the clear directions of the Hon’ble Apex Court. In other words, this Court cannot read something, in between the lines, which is neither the intent nor the content, finding or even obiter of the Hon’ble Apex Court"

The High Court found no infirmity with the order passed by the ACMM and dismissed the petition.

Cause Title: Manjinder Singh Sirsa v. State of NCT of Delhi & Anr. (2024:DHC:115)

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