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Supreme Court issues notice in plea challenging system of appointing Public Prosecutors in Kerala

Bar & Bench

The Supreme Court has issued notice in a petition calling for the issuance of directions to revamp the process of appointing Public Prosecutors (PPs) and Additional Public Prosecutors (APPs) in Kerala.

The order was passed by a Bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose last Monday.  Inter alia, the plea had registered objection to political interference when it comes to the appointment of these law officers.

In this regard, the petition moved by three Grade II Assistant Public Prosecutors from Kerala has challenged the constitutional validity of Rules 4, 8, 14, 15, 53 and 69 of the Kerala Government Law Officers Appointment and Conditions of Service and Conduct of Cases Rules, 1978 (1978 Rules).

The petitioners have argued that these provisions run counter to the scheme of appointment under Section 25A of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and are violative of Articles 254 and 309 of the Constitution. Further, the petitioners have also called for the Court to declare provisions of Section 24, CrPC as arbitrary and redundant in the State of Kerala.

In view of the concerns raised in the petition, the following prayers have been made before the Court, i..e

  • Direct the State of Kerala to include the posts of Deputy Director of Prosecution, Public Prosecutors and Additional Public Prosecutors  in the pre- existing cadre of prosecuting officers to effectuate the legislative intent of Section 25A read with Section 24 CrPC, 1973 and to modify 2018 Special Rules accordingly. (This would in turn allow Assistant Public Prosecutors to also be eligible for promotion to these posts).
  • Declare Section 24 (4), 24 (5) and the Proviso of Section 24 (6) of Cr PC as arbitrary and redundant in the context of State of Kerala;
  • Declare Rules 4, 8, 14, 15, 53 and 69 of Kerala Government Law Officers Appointment and Conditions of Service and Conduct of Cases Rules, 1978 as unconstitutional as they are repugnant under Article 254 of the Constitution to the letter and spirit of Section 25A of Cr PC;
  • Set up a National Commission headed by a retired Judge of the Supreme Court to look into the functioning, pay and service conditions of Prosecuting Officers and other aspects of the Directorate of Prosecutions across the country and recommend curative measures;
  • Establish National and Regional/ State level Prosecution Academy for training of the prosecuting officers so as to improve the quality of work of prosecution officers in the country with a Director from the regular cadre.

[Read the order dated November 25, 2019]

Kerala-Public-Prosecutors-Oder-Nov-25.pdf
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