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Bombay High Court Quashes Govt Resolution mandating Assistant Public Prosecutors to Secure 25% Conviction in Criminal Cases

Team SoOLEGAL 24 Nov 2018 1:45pm

Bombay High Court Quashes Govt Resolution mandating Assistant Public Prosecutors to Secure 25% Conviction in Criminal Cases

The High Court of Bombay has quashed the state government resolution dated May 12, 2015 that has mandated assistant public prosecutors to secure minimum 25 percent conviction in criminal trials.  

The petition, which came up for hearing before the bench of Justices Sunil K. Kotwal and S.V. Gangapurwala, was filed by the Maharashtra State Public Prosecutors’ Association.

Advocate P.R. Katneshwarkar, who had appeared for the petitioner, argued before the bench that securing minimum 25% conviction in criminal cases for a public prosecutor to get promotion is “unreasonable” in opposition to the provisions of Criminal Procedure Code and decision of the top court as well as High Court.

Advocate Katneshwarkar further submitted that the Public Prosecutor, representing the State in a criminal trial, is not expected to assure the State Government that in any case he would secure the conviction.

Further, the advocate said that a criminal trial’s result relies on the quality and quantity of evidence collected by the Investigating Officer and not on the Public Prosecutor’s performance. There is no connection between the performance of Public Prosecutor and conviction or acquittal, Katneshwarkar said.

However, Additional Government Pleader NT Bhagat submitted before the bench that the conviction rate in the state of Maharashtra has dropped considerably in comparison to the other States, which affects the public at large and sends a wrong signal to the society. And so, the Court cannot interfere with such policy decision, Bhagat said.

After hearing the arguments in the matter the bench quashed the government resolution noting:

… it is clear that Public Prosecutor being an officer of the Court, is not expected to only grab the conviction, but is expected to act fairly before the Court and his performance should be only in the form of assistance to the Court for arriving at proper conclusion regarding conviction or acquittal of the accused. Considering such impartial duty to be performed by the Public Prosecutor, the State cannot set target before the Public Prosecutors to get conviction at least in 25 % criminal cases handled by them. What is expected by the State of Maharashtra from the Public Prosecutor is totally against law as discussed above. In other words, by passing the impugned Government Resolution, the State Government cannot fix bench-mark for the Public Prosecutors to secure at least 25% conviction in the criminal cases handled by them, to get promotion.”

Tagged: Assistant Public Prosecutors   Promotion   Justice SK Kotwal   Justice SV Gangapurwala   Bombay High Court  
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