New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the centre to set up special fast-track courts to deal with pending cases against legislators.

A division bench comprising justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha gave the centre a timeline of six weeks to submit the scheme for setting up such courts along with the costs.

The Election Commission (EC) told the court that it supported decriminalization of politics through a lifetime ban on members of Parliament and legislative assemblies, who at present can contest elections even after being convicted in criminal cases.It also submitted that recommendations of the EC and Law Commission for lifetime disqualification of politicians convicted in criminal cases were under consideration by the government.

The court was hearing a plea by Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman and advocate Ashwini Kumar. He had challenged provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 which bars convicted politicians from contesting elections for six years after having served the jail term.

The plea also sought a direction to the centre and the EC to fix minimum educational qualifications and a maximum age limit for election candidates.

On Tuesday, the court had sought the status of 1,581 cases from 2014 onwards involving MPs and MLAs, including information on how many of these had been disposed of within a year and how many had ended in conviction or acquittal.

The case will be heard next on 13 December.

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