Delhi to fast-track cases against Harsh Vardhan, others

By Gaurav Sharma,

New Delhi : The Delhi government wants cases fast-tracked against nine lawmakers, including Health Minister Hardh Vardhan, after the central government demanded speedy trials of elected leaders.

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“There are 11 criminal cases in which charges were framed against nine MPs and MLAs,” a government official told IANS, referring to members of parliament and state legislatures.

“We will ask public prosecutors to appeal in concerned Delhi courts for their speedy trial.

“Delhi’s home department will also ask the law and justice department to write to the Delhi High Court to tell lower courts to frame charges,” said the official.

The central home ministry had asked states to try elected legislators in criminal cases within a year after charges are filed, in line with a Supreme Court of March this year.

Of nine involved in criminal cases in the national capital, three are from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

The Haryana politicians include Randeep Singh Surjewala and Gopal Kanda.

Harsh Vardhan, a former president of the Delhi BJP unit, is the only MP in the list seen by IANS.

The minister has been charged with rioting, and if convicted can be jailed for a maximum of two years.

While most will be tried for rioting, Kanda has been charged with abetting the suicide of a 23-year-old woman employed by his now defunct airline.

Delhi Congress legislator Jai Kishan will face trial for allegedly assaulting a woman and outraging her modesty. Other Delhi legislators are Kulwant Rana, Anil Jha, Jitedner Singh Shunty and Shoaib Iqbal.

While Rana, Jha and Shunty are from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Iqbal is a five-time legislator who joined the Janata Dal-United in 2013. All four have been charged with rioting.

The Uttar Pradesh politician is Bahujan Samaj Party’s Noor Salim Rana. He has been accused of kidnapping.

The Supreme Court has said incumbent MPs and legislators should be tried within a year if charges are framed against them under section 8(1), 8(2) and 8(3) of the Representation of the People Act.

“In such cases, as far as possible, the trial shall be conducted on a day-to-day basis,” the apex court had said.

In July last year, the apex court ruled that legislators will be disqualified if convicted by a trial court.

According to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), 181 members of the current Lok Sabha face criminal charges.

(Gaurav Sharma can be contacted on [email protected])