Indian Supreme Court sets deadline for lawmakers' trials

India parliament More than 150 MPs in the 543-seat lower house of parliament are said to be facing criminal charges

Related Stories

Trials of Indian lawmakers accused of serious crimes must be completed within a year, the Supreme Court has ordered.

If a trial court fails to do so, judges will have to explain the reasons for the delay to the high court, the top court said.

Last year, the Supreme Court barred lawmakers from elections if found guilty of offences carrying a jail term of at least two years.

Indian politics has been beset by corruption scandals in recent years.

More than 150 MPs in the 543-seat lower house of parliament are said to be facing criminal charges.

The Association for Democratic Reforms election watchdog says across the country there are 1,460 serving lawmakers facing criminal charges.

The data is based on information provided by politicians to the Election Commission before submitting themselves to the electorate. Research suggests 15 MPs face at least one murder charge.

Fresh elections are due in India in April and May, the Election Commission has announced.

In its order on Monday, the Supreme Court judges said that criminal cases against lawmakers from the federal parliament and state assemblies would be heard on "a day-to-day basis".

If a trial court judge failed to conclude the case in a year from the time the charges are framed, he must explain the reasons to the chief justice of the high court, the top court said.

Campaigners say the court order will be a further step in cleaning the Indian political system.

Until last year's landmark ruling by the Supreme Court, Indian politicians convicted of crimes could keep jobs while pursuing appeals which could go on for years.

But after the ruling, several politicians were disqualified from fighting elections, among them the former Bihar chief minister Laloo Prasad Yadav who was convicted for embezzling state funds intended to buy food for cattle.

More on This Story

Related Stories

From other news sites

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More India stories


Features & Analysis

  • Abdi Nor IftinGolden ticket

    How a refugee entered a lottery and won a new life in the US

  • Herring in a fur coatMerry herring

    How fish 'in a fur coat' is enough to make Russia's New Year happy

  • Curiosity Self-Portrait at 'Windjana' Drilling SiteIn pictures

    The most stunning space photos of the year

  • Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock and Dame Judi DenchFilm quiz of 2014

    How much do you remember about the past 12 months?

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • GeoguessrWhere in the world...?

    Think you are a geography expert? Test your knowledge with BBC Travel’s interactive game


  • Tom BrookTalking Movies Watch

    Tom Brook looks back at some of the best movies of 2014 from around the world

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.