Madhya Pradesh High Court: The Division Bench of Mohammad Rafiq, CJ. and Vijay Kumar Shukla, J., heard a petition which was in pursuance to the detailed order passed on 10-01-2014. It was in regard to the creation of the Directorate of Prosecution in terms of Section 25-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure. On 23-08-2017 the Court had disapproved the practice of appointment of Public Prosecutors on a contract basis and categorically held that it cannot be a post for appointment on contract basis as such the post is pivot for the administration of justice.
On 28-08-2019 the Government Advocate was granted a week’s time to seek instructions and apprise the Court of the steps taken by the Government to fill up the posts of Public Prosecutors and Assistant Public Prosecutors. On 29-09-2019 he informed the Court that a Gazette notification had been published in terms of Section 24 sub-section (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure as of 07-01-2019.
Mr Siddharth R. Gupta, Advocate appearing for the High Court submitted that this matter was pending before this Court for quite some time and the practice of engaging Panel Lawyers to appear before the High Court in criminal matters even without experience of seven years was being wrongly followed and that the State Government should comply the requirement of Section 24(1) and Section 24 (7) of CrPC before authorizing any Advocate to appear as Public Prosecutor before the High Court.
The Court directed the Respondent-State to clarify certain stands,
- Whether one Public Prosecutor is appointed for each Court in all districts of the State to attend the Criminal matters and if not whether multiple number of Courts are assigned to one available Public Prosecutor and if yes, give the details thereabout?
- As to how many posts in the cadre of Additional District Prosecution Officers, District Prosecution Officers and Deputy Director (Prosecution) are lying vacant in the State?
- Whether the promotions may not be granted against the unfilled posts of the quota of promotion in the cadre of the District Prosecution Officers and Deputy Director (Prosecution) to the extent not affected by order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, with regard to which there is no dispute?
- Can the State Government not consider appointing Additional District Prosecution Officers/District Prosecution Officers on retainership basis for fixed duration against unfilled posts of Public Prosecutors?
- Whether a Panel Lawyer may appear in the Court before the High Court in criminal matters like Criminal Appeals, Bail Applications, Criminal Revisions, application for suspension of sentence, MCRCs etc. even without having practice of minimum of seven years and without the consultation with the High Court as required under Section 24(1) of Cr.P.C.?
- How can appointment on contract basis without recourse to Section 24(4) of Cr.P.C. on the basis of panel proposed by the District Magistrate in consultation with the Sessions Judge particularly when Section 24(5) of Cr.P.C. provides that no person shall be appointed by the State Government as the Public Prosecutor or Additional Public Prosecutor for the district unless his name appears in the panel of names prepared by the District Magistrate under sub-section (4) of Section 24 of Cr.P.C.?
The Central Government was further asked to provide with the details with regard to compliance of Section 24(1) and Section 24(4) of Cr.P.C. as to whether the Advocates who appear on behalf of the agencies like Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate etc. before High Court and courts subordinate thereto, are appointed by process of consultation with the High Court or Sessions Judge, as the case may be, in terms of Section 24(1) and 24(4) of Cr.P.C. respectively.
Matter to be taken up on 26-07-2021.[Gyan Prakash v. Govt. of M.P., 2021 SCC OnLine MP 1211, decided on 22-06-2021]
Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.