After initially declining to hear a plea for disqualification of MPs and MLAs charge sheeted for rape and other crimes against women, the Supreme Court today sought response from the Centre and state governments for removing such legislators as people's representatives.
The apex court, which during the hearing, had in clear terms stated it cannot go into the issue of disqualification of legislators facing charges with rape and crime against women and children, later in its order incorporated this plea of PIL petitioners for issuing notice to the Centre and states for their stand.
A bench comprising justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra, which had agreed to go into issues of fast track trial of rape cases and implementation of laws for safety of women, had earlier preferred not to go into the issue of legislators saying, "The issue of disqualification of MPs and MLAs is not in our jurisdiction."
"What is our power on MPs and MLAs. Obviously, such a sweeping relief can't be sought," the bench had said.
The apex court, which was hearing two PILs filed after the December 16 gangrape incident, also decided to go into the plea for seeking direction for termination of services of police and government officials who are convicted of charges of rape and other heinous crimes against women and children.
The bench, during the hearing, suggested that the petitioners should have taken the ground that if the investigation into the cases was not upto the mark, it should be treated as "misconduct" on the part of the Investigating Officer.
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 4,835 MPs and MLAs in the country, 1,448 are facing criminal cases.
The apex court agreed that there was a need for fast track courts and additional judges and also sought the response of the government for compulsarily providing compensation to the victims of sexual offence.
"There is a lot of vacancies for the judges and lot of courts have to be set up," the bench remarked.
The court's observations came during hearing of the PILs filed by retired woman IAS officer Promilla Shanker and advocate and social activist Omika Dubey.
The bench asked the Centre and state governments to respond to the plea for compiling the National Register of Convicted Sex Offenders and other heinous crimes and circulate to all police departments and enforcement agencies.
The apex court also sought the stand of the Centre and states on the issue of implementation of the recommendations in the Law Commission's report on "Review of Rape Law's" and for taking steps to implement the pending projects of police modernization and filling of vacancy.
The response has also been sought for a direction to start National Toll Free helpline for rape victims and welfare center for children born from rape victims and to make guidelines to make national register of enlightened citizens who may voluntarily take the responsibility to curtail such social menace and crime prevention which may be called National Register of Socially Enlightened Citizens (NRSEC).