The Delhi High Court has directed the city government to impart training to the newly appointed public prosecutors in coordination with the Delhi Judicial Academy as prosecutors are an integral part of criminal court system.
The high court said it is imperative that the appointees are adequately equipped to shoulder the weighty responsibilities which the post of prosecutors carries.
Amicus curiae Rajeev K Virmani, who has been appointed friend of court to assist it in the matter, told a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula that no training programme has been conducted for the newly appointed public prosecutors.
The high court directed the Delhi government to coordinate with the Delhi Judicial Academy to conduct training of the 60 newly recruited prosecutors.
“It has been brought to the notice of the court that 60 public prosecutors have been appointed recently, however, alarmingly, no training has been imparted to them,” the bench said.
“Delhi government shall also file a status report before next date of hearing regarding (i) the implementation of direction regarding training programmes and (ii) the latest position of vacancies in respect of public prosecutors,” it added and listed the matter for further hearing on November 1.
The high court was hearing a batch of petitions, including a suo motu case (a matter initiated on its own), concerning issues related to recruitment, appointment and working of public prosecutors in the city.
The PILs have also sought upward revision in the pay scales of prosecutors and for equipping them with facilities and infrastructure they need to do their job.
The bench said public prosecutors are an integral part of criminal court system and “the Supreme Court has on numerous occasions highlighted the import of the post, specifically highlighting its uniqueness vis- -vis a counsel for a complainant or another ordinary party to a controversy”.
It said 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 the prosecutor 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.
During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma told the court that a letter was issued by the central government to its standing counsel Anil Soni informing that the issue of revision of pay scales of assistant public prosecutors is under active consideration of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
He said the Centre has also requested the chief secretary of the Delhi government to take care of the “total financial implication” of revision of pay scales of assistant public prosecutors working under the Directorate of Prosecution, Delhi government.
The court granted two weeks to the Delhi government counsel to respond to the Centre and provide necessary information.
It also granted four weeks to the Centre to take a final decision in the matter.
On the issue or recruitment of prosecutors, the high court had earlier asked the Delhi government and the Union Public Service Commission to ensure that the process is concluded expeditiously.
In 2009, the high court had initiated a petition on its own on the poor condition of the prosecutors here. The court was also informed that one of the causes for delay in disposal of cases involving undertrials was the shortage of prosecutors, inadequate infrastructure and support staff.