Not Received Any Fresh Proposals From Delhi Govt To Fill Prosecutors’ Vacancies: UPSC to HC

The UPSC told the Delhi High Court on Tuesday it has not received any fresh proposal from the city government for filling up posts of prosecutors in courts here and a statement made by the state about it was “incorrect” and “inappropriate”.

The UPSC’s statement was made in an affidavit in response to the Delhi government’s submission before the court on January 17 that a fresh requisition has been sent to the Union Public Service Commission for filling up 108 vacant posts of public prosecutors.

The high court is 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.

A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad asked the Delhi government authorities to expedite the process of filling the vacant posts of prosecutors and listed the matter for further hearing on March 15.

The bench also asked the Delhi government to file a fresh status report before the next date of hearing.

The UPSC, in its affidavit, said the statement made by the counsel for the Delhi government, as mentioned in the January 11 order, is “incorrect and inappropriate in as much as no fresh proposal has been received from the Government of NCT of Delhi for filling up either the post of Public Prosecutors or Assistant Public Prosecutors in GNCT of Delhi”.

It said the UPSC has always tried to complete the process of recruitment in all cases, more particularly in the case of public prosecutors and assistant public prosecutors, as expeditiously as possible, and the current process is likely to culminate in a final result very soon in March 2023 itself.

The UPSC said only one proposal for recruitment against 80 vacant posts of APP in the Delhi government was received by the commission on October 7, 2020.

“A total of 3,155 candidates applied for the said post and 2,122 candidates appeared in the recruitment test held on September 19, 2021. After conduct of recruitment test and scrutiny of the documents submitted by the candidates the commission has called 261 candidates for the interview for the post which are scheduled to be held from February 6, 2023 till March 1, this year. As such the recruitment is at an advanced stage,” the UPSC said in the affidavit.

During the hearing, one of the counsel for petitioners claimed there are so many vacancies for the post of prosecutors despite continuous orders of the court.

The Delhi government’s counsel said recruitment is an ongoing process and steps are being taken to fill the vacancies.

Rejecting his contention, Justice Prasad said it was not an ongoing process and, if it were an ongoing process, there would never have been so many vacant positions.

The Delhi government’s counsel said, historically, there has been lethargy in filling the vacancies but now steps are being taken to fill them.

“I am not saying things are good. Much needs to be done but steps are being taken in consultation with UPSC to fill the vacancies,” he said.

In January this year, the high court had granted a final opportunity of four weeks to the AAP government to expedite the process of filling the vacant posts of public prosecutors and observed the huge backlog of cases in the criminal justice system can be remedied only if these vacancies are filled up at the earliest.

The amicus curiae appointed by the court to assist it had said that as many as 108 courts in Delhi are non-functional for want of public prosecutors.

The counsel for Delhi Prosecutors Welfare Association said the situation is such that one public prosecutor is handling almost three to four courts, bringing the entire criminal justice system to a standstill.

In July last year, the court had asked the Delhi government to file a status report in respect of the vacancies and the steps taken to fill them up.

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