LAW NOTES: PUBLIC PROSECUTOR

The importance of impartiality in the tribunal depends on the integrity of the person in charge of the prosecution, namely Public Prosecutor. A crime is a wrong not only against the individual victim but also against the society at large. The Public Prosecutor is not a protagonist of any party. In theory, he stands for the State in whose name all the prosecutions are conducted. The Public Prosecutor or the Assistant Public Prosecutor has the authority to appear and plead before any Court in any case entrusted to him. With the Consent of the Court, he can withdraw the prosecution against any person. He can give advice to the police or other Government Departments with regard to the prosecution of any person if his advice is so sought.  The ideal Public Prosecutor is not concerned with the securing the convictions, or with satisfying departments of the State Government with which he has to be in contact. He must consider himself as an agent of justice. There are following classes of Public Prosecutors:

  1. Public Prosecutor appointed by the Central Government
  2. Public Prosecutor appointed by the State Government
  3. Additional Public Prosecutor appointed by the State Government
  4. Special Public Prosecutor appointed by the Central Government
  5. Special Public Prosecutor appointed by the State Government

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According to the pattern set by Cr. P.C., while Public Prosecutor (including Additional Public Prosecutors and Special Public Prosecutors) are to conduct prosecutions and other criminal proceedings in the Sessions Courts and High Courts, Assistant Public Prosecutors are appointed for conducting prosecutions in the Magistrate’s Courts.

A person shall be eligible to be appointed in the High Court as Public Prosecutor if he has been in practice as an advocate for not less than 7 years. The appointing authority can make the appointment only after consultation with the High Court. The State Government may appoint a Director of Public Prosecutors but he shall be functioning under the Advocate General of the State. Special Public Prosecutors which are appointed by the Central & State Governments, are those advocates who have been in the practise for not less than 10 years. Section 25 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (the Code) makes provisions prescribing eligibility qualification for being appointed as Assistant Public Prosecutor as well as provisions for appointment of such prosecutors for conducting prosecutions in the Magistrate’s Courts. The Provisions contained in sections 24 and 25 of the Code do not give an adequate idea as to the actual organisation of the prosecuting agency in the district or as to the hierarchy or the administrative control envisaged therein. Generally speaking, Prosecution work in the Magistrate’s Courts is under directions of the police department, while the prosecution of trial in Sessions Court is under the general control of the District Magistrate.

The object of the criminal trial is to find out the truth and determine the guilt or innocence of the accused. The duty of the Prosecutor in such a trial is not merely to secure conviction at all cost but to place before the Court whatever evidence is possessed by the prosecutor, whether it be in favour of or against the accused and to leave the Court to decide upon all such evidence. It is no part of the prosecutor’s duty to obtain convictions by hook or crook.

The Prosecutor plays a very important role in the administration of justice. A Public Prosecutor should be personally indifferent to the result of the case. His duty should consist only in placing all the evidence available irrespective of the fact whether it goes against the accused or helps him, before the Court in  order to aid the Court in discovering the truth. It would thus be seen that in machinery of justice, a Public Prosecutor has to play very responsible role; the impartiality of his conduct is as vital as the impartiality of the Court itself.

Bibliography:

  1. Criminal Procedure, R.V. Kelkar’s, 6th Edition, Eastern Book Company.
  2. Criminal Procedure Code, Ratanlal & Dheerajlal, Student Edition, Lexis Nexis Publication Ltd.

Divya Jyoti, 3rd Year, B.A. LL.B(Hons.), School of Law, KIIT University

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