Public Prosecutor can’t deemed appointed before High Court: SC

In an important ruling, the Supreme Court of India clarified that a Public Prosecutor appointed to conduct a case before the trial court under the provisions of Criminal Procedure Code (“CrPC”) cannot be deemed to be appointed for the purpose of appeal or revision or other proceedings before the High Court.

“A Public Prosecutor has to be specifically appointed for the appeals or revisions or other proceedings in the High Court”, a Large Bench of the Court ruled.

“The appointment of a Public Prosecutor, as envisaged under Section 24(1) CrPC in the High Court is different than the appointment of a Public Prosecutor for the District Courts”, the Court said.

The Court further said, “If the word “case” [Section 301 CrPC] is given a meaning to include the appeal, it will be denuding the power of appointing authority. The law does not so countenance. If the Government by a notification appoints an eligible person clearly stating that he shall conduct the trial as well as pursue the appeal arising out of it, there will be no difficulty. Therefore, much stress cannot be given on the words “without any written authority” as used in Section 301. It can only mean that the Public Prosecutor once engaged/appointed by the State, he can prosecute the appeal without filing any formal authority for the said purpose. It cannot be construed to the extent that solely because he has been appointed in connection with the trial case, he can appear before the High Court for which he has not been appointed in pursuance of Section 24 (1) CrPC. Section 301(1) CrPC cannot be stretched to that extent.”

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