New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to Centre and J&K government on a petition, challenging the appointment of police officers as Public Prosecutors(PPs) in Jammu and Kashmir.
A division Bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice CT Ravikumar sought Centre and J&K administration’s response to the plea before the next date of hearing on March 20.
In his plea filed before the SC, one Amit Pathania has challenged the judgement delivered by the J&K High Court regarding a decision of the government in 2019 to establish a “Directorate of Prosecution” by creating a separate prosecution service comprising of J&K police persons and appointing them as Deputy Directors/Public Prosecutors/Assistant Public Prosecutors and so on.
The petitioner contends that the action on part of the J&K administration was violative of sections 24, 25 and 25A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which is applicable in J&K with the application of Reorganisation Act, 2019. The government action, he said, was also against the spirit of fair trial enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The petition also stated that the concerned government officials are exercising their powers in an “unlawful, unconstitutional and arbitrary manner”.
During the hearing, the counsel appearing for the petitioner argued that only an advocate who is having more than 7 years of practice can be appointed as public prosecutors. However, he said, the government has included erstwhile police officers in the separate prosecution service,
In response to a query by the Bench, the counsel said:
“Police prosecutors can’t be termed as advocates”.
“To be a public prosecutor, you need to be an advocate”, he said. Said, adding , “ When these police officers join police duty, they cease to be advocates”.
Subsequently the court issued notice.