New Delhi: Hearing a PIL, the Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to reply on fast-track trial of rape cases and implementation of existing laws for safety of women. The court, also said that it can't pass direction for suspension of MPs and MLAs chargesheeted in cases of crime against women.

The Apex Court, which was hearing two PILs filed after the December 16 gangrape incident, said it can only give notice to the government on limited issues as some of the prayers made in the petitions were beyond its jurisdiction.

"The issue of disqualification of MPs and MLAs is not in our jurisdiction," a bench comprising justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra said.

"What is our power on MPs and MLAs? Obviously, such a sweeping relief can't be sought," the bench said referring to the prayer made for a direction for suspension of MPs and MLAs who have been charge-sheeted for crime against women.

The bench also asked the government to apprise it about the terms and references of justice J S Verma committee which was set up to review and strengthen the existing law on rape and offences against women.
While the submission was made about the disqualification of politicians facing criminal cases, the bench observed that without going into the status of a person in life, they should be put on fast-track trial.
The bench was told that out of 4835 MPs and MLAs in the country, 1448 are facing criminal cases. However, the bench said at the moment it was not concerned with the issue and decided to hear the PIL on the limited issues.

The Apex Court’s notice to the Centre comes during hearing of a PIL filed by retired IAS officer Promilla Shanker seeking directions to the government to ensure safety of women in the country. It was also pleaded in the petition that cases of assault on children and women should be handled by women police officers and MPs and MLAs chargesheeted in the cases of crime against woman should be suspended.

The PIL was filed in the Apex Court in the backdrop of massive public outcry over Delhi gang rape on December 16 which puts a question mark on women’s safety in the national capital.


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