Srinagar: The High Court on Thursday asked the government to respond within four weeks to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), which alleges that public prosecutors are being appointed in the state on political considerations.
Public prosecutors, who are government-appointed lawyers in sessions courts, play an important role in justice delivery in criminal cases.
The PIL, filed by lawyer Allaudin Ganai has requested the court that sessions judges should recommend appointment of PPs. A bench of Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Hasnain Massodi asked the government to file its response within four weeks.
Ganai said a sessions court is the highest criminal court for conducting trials in cases involving heinous, grave and special offences and a PP is therefore tasked with the delicate duty of ensuring the conviction of culprits and release of innocents.
He referred to the Supreme Court of India’s judgment on 23 January 2013 in Thana Singh Vs Central Bureau of Narcotics, which says public prosecutors play the most important role in the administration of justice.
“Their quality is thus of profound importance to the speed and outcome of trials… we direct that the District and Sessions Judge shall make recommendations for such appointment in consultation with the Administrative Judge/Portfolio Judge/ Inspecting Judge, in charge of looking after the administration of the concerned Sessions Division,” the apex court had said.
“A Sessions Judge knows the character and competence of lawyers appearing before him in administration of justice and therefore is the best person to make recommendations for appointment of PPs,” Ganai said.
He said a PP is “neither the mouthpiece of government nor police but shall be a man of integrity besides being well versed with law and gifted with the spirit to serve the public with efficient administration of criminal justice”.
“As such his appointment should be purely based on the merit and not on any other consideration including political,” he said, adding that it was unfortunate “that in J&K merit is not preferred and PPs are appointed on political considerations which has the tendency to create miscarriage of justice.”
The government till date has not made any policy or guidelines regarding the appointment of Public Prosecutors, he said.
“In our state, the most junior lawyers having no experience in conducting criminal trials before sessions court are appointed as PPs on political considerations which is not a healthy sign in delivery of justice.”