Jammu: J&K government Thursday notified a policy for augmentation of manpower in the Prosecution Department to “effectively supervise prosecution of criminal cases and also to render advice on legal matters in various Police offices.”
The augmentation would be by way of deputation of serving government employees of J&K as well as contractual engagement of the retired prosecutors or persons with Bachelor in Laws or utilisation of services of the law firms.
This policy would come into force with immediate effect and would subsist till further orders.
Notably, the government is already faced with criticism for its recent decision to engage retired engineers in the Rural Development Department (RDD) for execution of works.
“Considering the functional requirement of the persons with law background to effectively supervise prosecution of criminal cases by the Prosecution Department as also to render advice on legal matters in various Police offices, a need has been felt to augment the existing manpower in the Prosecution department,” the order read.
As per the order, the objective of the policy is aimed at ensuring that proper advice or assistance is rendered in legal matters in the Police offices so that litigation – criminal as well as civil - is dealt with effectively.
Spelling out the terms of “Engagement and Methodology”, the policy specifies that the officers serving in various departments of J&K having Bachelor in Laws would be taken on deputation on standard terms and conditions by invoking relevant provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services Regulations, 1956.
The Director General of Prosecution, based on assessment of the manpower requirement that may be undertaken periodically, would advertise and undertake the selection process and submit a proposal to the Home department for further appropriate action.
The selection process would be determined by the Director General of Prosecution and would necessarily include an interview to be conducted by a four-member committee comprising Director General of Prosecution, one officer of the rank of Director (Prosecution) and a representative each from the Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and the Home Department.
Under “contractual engagement”, retired prosecutors of and above the rank of Senior Prosecuting Officer would be considered for re-employment in terms of Article 259 and 259-A.
The contractual engagement of the retired prosecutors would be for a period of one year, extendable as per need thereafter.
The Director General of Prosecution would take necessary steps to prepare details of willing persons, undertake consultation with the Director General of Police, J&K, and forward the details to the Home Department for further appropriate action, the policy specifies.
Besides, the lawyers, with a practice of at least two years, would be considered for contractual engagement on a consolidated remuneration.
The Director General of Prosecution would propose the terms and conditions of engagement to the Home Department.
As per the policy, registered law firms with proven track record would be considered for engagement on case to case basis, in consultation with the Director General of Prosecution, on mutually agreeable terms and conditions, subject to approval by the Home Department.
It maintained that in the matters of discipline, appeal and conduct, the persons engaged on deputation as well as on contractual basis, including the retired prosecutors, would be governed by the rules as are applicable to the government employees of J&K.
The desirability for continuation of the policy would be reviewed periodically by the Home department in consultation with the Director General of Prosecution, J&K.
“While working out the exact number of Prosecuting Officers as may be required by way of deputation and contractual engagement, the Home Department will review the policy from time-to-time and monitor the progress of such temporary engagements vis-à-vis progress in the rate of conviction,” the policy spelt out.
The policy backgrounder mentioned that with the establishment of the Directorate of Prosecution, envisaged under section 25 A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC), all the officers working in the erstwhile prosecution wing of the Police department became members of the newly-created J&K Prosecution Service.
“Subsequently, the rules of the service have been framed, providing, among other things, the method of recruitment for the posts mentioned in the schedules, with substantial increase in the sanctioned strength to fulfill the requirements of courts, supervision and advisory capacity. For effective prosecution of the cases in the criminal courts, prosecutors have been provided in the trial courts, including the designated anti-corruption courts and the specially established fast track courts, as also the supervisory structure and for rendering legal advice in the Police offices. The process of selection against the sanctioned posts is also underway in the J&K Public Service Commission which, however, will take some time to conclude,” it said.