Report No. 14
17. A full-time Government Servant.-
It is necessary that the Director of Public Prosecutions should be a full time Government servant and should not be allowed the right of private practice. The nature of his duties is such that if he were allowed the right to practice privately, his personal interest may clash with the due performance of his duties. There have been occasional complaints, about the failure of part-time public prosecutors to perform their duties properly and efficiently. Being in a position to confer favours, they are able to obtain advantages for themselves in private practice. We therefore recommend in the interest of integrity and efficiency, that the practice of appointing part-time prosecutors be abandoned.
It is difficult to suggest a definite pay scale for the Director, for the conditions vary in each State. But we think that the present Public Prosecutors can be drawn upon to fill the office of the Director. Taking into account the fact that the daily fees paid to them are not considerable, there should be no difficulty in arranging the payment of a fair salary to them. It should therefore be possible to attract efficient members of the Bar to these posts.
19. Qualified Assistants.-
In order to enable the Director of Public Prosecutions to efficiently perform his functions, it is necessary that he should be assisted by competent legally qualified assistants. We suggest that a separate cadre of prosecutors may be established in every State and one or two Assistant Public Prosecutors with the necessary clerical staff could be appointed to assist the Director of Public Prosecutions in the discharge of his functions. It is possible that some of the functions of the Director of Public Prosecutions like the scrutiny of police reports and the rendering of legal advice to the police department could be delegated to the Assistant Public Prosecutors at the sub-divisional level, subject to the overall superintendence of the Director.
These are however matters of detail, which can be worked out by the State Governments, having regard to the local conditions and the nature and amount of criminal work in each State. We believe that these proposals, if accepted, will go a long way towards strengthening the prosecuting agency and keeping an effective indirect check on the investigating machinery.
20. Need of improved Conditions of Service.-
In addition to the Public Prosecutor or the Additional Public Prosecutor, who looks after the criminal work in Sessions Courts, Additional or Assistant Sessions Courts, prosecuting officers needed for prosecuting work in the magistrates' courts are also appointed from among the members of the Bar. So far as we have been able to ascertain, only in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Bombay and Madras, does there exist a separate cadre of officers known as the Assistant Public Prosecutors. The remuneration paid to the Public Prosecutors who are often drawn from the higher levels of the Bar, is not altogether adequate.
In some of the heavy courts, the whole time of the Public Prosecutors is taken up by Government work and they have no time to take up private work. It is therefore necessary that they should be adequately remunerated. The Assistant Public Prosecutors in Madras and Bombay, are full-time officers. Their pay is below the level of that of a District Munsif. In order to better their prospects, in Andhra Pradesh and Madras, they have been declared eligible for recruitment as members of the subordinate judiciary.
The remuneration paid to them is even more inadequate than that paid to the Public Prosecutors. An Assistant Public Prosecutor or prosecuting officer attending to criminal work in the courts of more than one or two magistrates, it will be appreciated, carried a very heavy burden of work. One cannot expect efficiency from these officers if they are not paid satisfactorily. We therefore recommend that the conditions of service of and the remuneration payable to these officers should be suitably revised. The nature and extent of the revision needed will be a matter for the consideration of each State Government.
21. Co-operation between prosecuting agency and the police.-
Our attention was drawn to difficulties arising from the lack of co-operation between the police department and the Public Prosecutors. The Public Prosecutor has to be placed in full possession of all the relevant facts and documents. In the case of a private complaint, a counsel engaged by a party has the opportunity of examining all the documents and even of questioning witnesses, so that, he may be able to place a precise case before the court. A Public Prosecutor, we were told, is frequently denied such an opportunity. It is true that he is furnished with the case diary which contains the statements of the witnesses and with copies of the documents relevant to the case. But not infrequently, it becomes necessary for the Public Prosecutor to know more fully what a witness is likely to say.
The statements of the witnesses are rarely recorded verbatim so that a mere perusal of the case diary does not give him enough information. Occasionally also, he wishes to communicate with the investigating officer in order to acquaint himself more thoroughly with the facts appearing from the diary and the documents. It is also important that he should have the assistance of the police officer in cases where defence witnesses are to be cross-examined. The Public Prosecutors do not however get sufficient assistance in these matters.
The police officers appear, to treat the case as at an end, once they have completed the investigation and submitted the police report. Though the police officers should, in fairness to the accused, not adopt a partisan attitude and try to manoeuvre matters so as to secure a conviction, it certainly is a part of their duty to see that all information needed for a proper trial is furnished to the prosecutor. In our view, it should be the duty of the Superintendent of Police, as the head of the Police in the District and as the person intimately connected with the control of crime, to see that the prosecutors are given all the assistance and information they need at the trial.
Perhaps the Public Prosecutor now regards himself rightly as an officer of court, interested only in the proper presentation of cases. He does not wait on the District Superintendent of Police as was done in the British days. This is as it should be and the police should appreciate and accept the new shape of things. Perhaps a more efficient co-ordination between the prosecutors and police officers may be brought about by the acceptance of our recommendation for the appointment of a Director of Prosecutions for each district.
It was said that the recruitment of prosecutors from the Bar had not yielded satisfactory results. An Inspector-General of Police expressed the opinion that police prosecutors were better equipped than lawyer prosecutors. The Chief advantage, it was said, lay in the fact that the Police Prosecutor had an intimate knowledge of the process of investigation; he had also training in other branches of police work.
It seems to us that if this lack of acquaintance with methods of police investigation affects the competence of a lawyer-prosecutor, a training for about six months may be given to him. He may during his training watch the investigation of cases and learn more precisely how the police department functions, before a police report is laid before a Magistrate. The training should be effective and the recruit should be made acquainted with those aspects of investigation of cases which would enhance his usefulness as a prosecutor.
23. Summary of recommendations.-
Our recommendations regarding the prosecuting agency may be summarised as follows:-
(1) All prosecutors should be legally qualified and be recruited from the Bar.
(2) The prosecuting agency should be separated from the Police Department.
(3) There should be a whole-time officer responsible for prosecutions in each district styled the Director of Public Prosecutions.
(4) His duties and functions should be as set out in paragraph 16 ante.
(5) Under him there should be a cadre of whole-time prosecutors responsible for conducting prosecutions who may discharge some of the functions of the Director at the Sub-Divisional level.
(6) The conditions of service of Public Prosecutors and Assistant Public Prosecutors should be improved and their emoluments raised.
(7) Assistant Public Prosecutors should be trained in the police department for six months.