A total of 482 cases against lawmakers, including MPs and MLAs, have been registered in Maharashtra as on November 12, 2022, the Supreme Court was informed on Monday.

Out of these 482 cases, 169 are more than five years old, the top court was told.

Maharashtra is closely followed by Odisha where 454 cases have been registered. Out of these 323 cases are more than five years old.

Senior Advocate Vijay Hansaria, who has been appointed as amicus curiae in a plea for expeditious disposal of criminal cases against MPs and MLAs, informed the top court in a report that out of 25 high courts, reports about such cases have been received from 16.

Referring to the report filed by the Bombay High Court, Hansaria said it has informed that summonses are issued to witnesses and accused for early disposal and officers are given specific directions to serve the summonses and warrants on time.

With regard to the Delhi High Court, the amicus said it has informed that shorter dates are given taking into consideration the convenience and availability of accused and other parties.

It also said undue requests for adjournment by counsel are declined and effective costs imposed while efforts are made to ensure that witnesses are not discharged unexamined.

The Apex Court has been passing a slew of directions from time to time on the plea filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay for ensuring expeditious trial of cases against lawmakers and speedy investigation by the CBI and other agencies.

The amicus submitted that despite a series of directions by top court and regular monitoring a large number of criminal cases are pending against MPs and MLAs, many for more than five years.

The Apex Court had earlier asked all the High Courts to furnish the details of criminal cases pending for over five years against MPs and MLAs and steps taken for their speedy disposal.

It had also modified its August 10, 2021 order by which it had said judicial officers, who are holding trial of cases against law makers, should not be changed without the prior permission of the court.

On August 10 last year, the top court had curtailed the power of the state prosecutors and ruled that they cannot withdraw prosecution against lawmakers under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) without the prior sanction of the High Courts.

It had expressed strong displeasure over the non-filing of requisite status reports by the Centre and its agencies like the CBI, and indicated it would set up a special bench in the Apex Court to monitor criminal cases against politicians.

With PTI inputs