Mrunal Manmay Dash

A total of 423 criminal cases are pending in various courts against MPs and MLAs in Odisha till December, 2023, as per the statement furnished in the Orissa High Court on Thursday.

A division bench of acting Chief Justice Dr. BR Sarangi and Justice Murahari Sri Raman went through the details of institution, disposal and pendency of cases relating to MPs and MLAs for the month of December, 2023 which indicates that all total 423 cases are pending in various courts.

As per the data furnished in the court, Khordha district topped the chart with 86 criminal cases pending against various MPs and MLAs. Similarly, elected representatives of Sundargarh district have 53 cases, Ganjam 51 and Koraput has 48 pending cases.

However, no MPs or MLAs from Puri, Bhadrak, Jajpur and Jagatsinghpur districts have any criminal cases pending against them till December, 2023.

While taking up the matter, the observed that "effective steps should have been taken for early disposal of those cases on priority basis."

Notably, a writ petition was registered suo-motu by the Deputy Registrar (Judicial) of the Orissa High Court to monitor early disposal of criminal cases pending against the Members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies as per the direction of the Supreme Court.

Accordingly, the District and Sessions Judges were directed to take appropriate and effective steps for disposal of cases involving Members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies and furnish monthly statement showing institution, disposal and pendency of the cases in every English calendar month, so as to reach this Court by 3rd of succeeding month.

The designated Courts were instructed to give priority to the criminal cases punishable with death or life imprisonment, then to the cases punishable with imprisonment for five years or more and then hear all other cases and not to adjourn the cases except for rare and compelling reasons.

Notably, out of the 423 cases, a majority of the cases are in their appearance stage or initial stages.

During Thursday's hearing, the HC bench directed the government advocate who is also the public prosecutor to file an affidavit indicating the steps taken for early disposal of those cases pending before various courts of the State.

The case has been listed for the next hearing after two months.

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