HC directs Delhi govt to conduct training of newly recruited public prosecutors, seeks fresh status report

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NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has directed the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) to coordinate with the Delhi Judicial Academy to conduct training of the newly recruited public prosecutors.

GNCTD shall also file a status report before the next date of hearing regarding the implementation of direction regarding training programmes and the latest position of vacancies in respect of public prosecutors, directed Delhi High Court.

Earlier, the court had pulled up the Delhi government over the delay in filling up vacant posts of Public Prosecutors in Districts Court.

The court made it clear that if the status report is not filed and a proper explanation is not given as to why the vacancies have not been filled up, this court will direct the personal appearance of the Law Secretary and other officers who are responsible for the delay.

On September 14, 2023, the bench of Justice Satish Chander Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula was informed by Rajeev K Virmani Amicus Curiae about the lack of a training programme for the Public Prosecutor.

Sixty public prosecutors have been appointed recently but no training has been imparted to them.

While issuing directions, the court noted that the post of ‘Public Prosecutor’ is an integral part of the criminal court system.

The Supreme Court has on numerous occasions highlighted the import of the post, specifically highlighting its uniqueness vis-à-vis a counsel for a complainant or another ordinary party to a controversy.

A public prosecutor is positioned as a representative of the sovereign, whose interest is not to secure a conviction but rather to facilitate the administration of justice, and in doing so must act in a fair and impartial manner, within the framework of the law and independent of undue influence by investigating agencies and the Executive. Given this distinct role played by the public prosecutors, it becomes imperative that the appointees are adequately equipped to shoulder the weighty responsibilities the post carries.

The Delhi HC has held the next date of hearing on the matter for November 1, 2023.

During the hearing, Chetan Sharma, Additional Solicitor General (ASG), also apprised the court that the letter dated September 13, 2023, issued by the Government of India to Anil Soni, Central Government Standing Counsel, informing that the matter in respect of revision of pay scales of Assistant Public Prosecutors is under active consideration of Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

He has also stated that the Union of India vide letter dated August 28, 2023, has requested the Chief Secretary, GNCTD to provide ‘total financial implication’ for revision of pay scales of Assistant Public Prosecutors working under the Directorate of Prosecution, GNCTD, as per their proposal.
Earlier, Advocate Ashish Dixit appearing for Delhi Prosecutors Association submitted that each Public Prosecutor is handling almost three to four courts and that this has brought the entire criminal justice system to a standstill.

The direction of Delhi HC came on a batch of petitions moved by the Delhi Prosecutors Welfare Association, Gaurav Kumar Bansal and a petition initiated by the Delhi High Court on its own on the poor condition of the prosecutors here.

The court was also informed that one of the causes for the delay in the disposal of the cases with regard to undertrials was the shortage of prosecutors as well as infrastructure facilities and supporting staff for them. (ANI)

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