Agencies like the CBI and Enforcement Directorate were reprimanded today by the Supreme Court over delays in investigations against MPs and MLAs. Cases are pending for 10-15 years and chargesheets are not filed, Chief Justice of India NV Ramanna said, asking the agencies to explain why.
The Enforcement Directorate is “only attaching properties” and nothing else is done, the Supreme Court noted in sharp remarks.
“Don’t keep cases hanging like this. File a chargesheet,” Justice Ramana, heading a three judge bench, said, pointing out that speedy trials were needed to deliver justice to people.
“We don’t want to say anything against these agencies because we don’t want to demoralise them. But all this (number of pending cases) speaks volumes,” he added.
Vijay Hansaria, assisting the court, remarked that in one case the agency had said that the case was expected to be completed in 2030.
“My God!” – Justice DY Chandrachud exclaimed at this.
The agencies had given no reason for the delays, commented Justice Ramana, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Surya Kant.
“Just like us agencies also suffer from lack of staff. Any big or small case people want CBI to investigate. We understand that they are also burdened like courts. And in some cases they have to go through special procedures and need resources,” they said.
“But the courts are affected by the pandemic. Investigative agencies are not affected by that. Why are they not trying their best?”
According to the Chief Justice, since the cases involve public representatives, special conditions were needed as “they can also misuse their position”.
“Since these cases involve public representatives they can also misuse their position and that is why we had imposed special conditions. We had said in last hearing that these cases cannot be withdrawn without the approval of the High Court,” said Justice Ramana.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the government, admitted to the delays and said: “Instead of going case by case, I am in agreement that they need to be expedited.”
In response, the Chief Justice said it was “easy to say that expedite this” but where was it happening?
Mr Mehta was asked to get back to the Supreme Court on the reason for the huge delays in pending cases in the next hearing.