Merit not seniority to decide public prosecutor’s assignments - Hindustan Times
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Merit not seniority to decide public prosecutor’s assignments

Bhopal, Hindustan Times | By
Aug 16, 2019 05:54 PM IST

Merit and not seniority will decide the court in which public prosecutors will appear in Madhya Pradesh, signaling a major shift in the way in which public prosecution is carried out in the state

Merit and not seniority will decide the court in which public prosecutors will appear in Madhya Pradesh, signaling a major shift in the way in which public prosecution is carried out in the state and is expected to increase the conviction rate, said officials of the state prosecution office adding that merit will also become a criterion in transfers and postings.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The system, which is perhaps the first of its kind in the country, has been put in place from January 1, said officials. It will see the best among the assistant district public prosecution officers (ADPOs), who are at the bottom of the pecking order, given cases in the court of the chief judicial magistrate (CJM). So far ADPOs were appearing before the courts of judicial magistrate Class I and II, which deal with very minor cases, while only district public prosecution officers (DPOs) used to appear before the CJM court. It takes years of practice before an ADPO gets chance to appear before the CJM’s court. The CJM court hears cases in which there is provision for jail term up to seven years.

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Director public prosecution, additional director general of police (ADG), Rajendra Kumar said, “The merit of the ADPO is decided on the basis of transparent point based ranking system based purely on the work they have done in the courts – the number of witnesses they produce, cross examinations they do, number of convictions etc. Each work performed has particular points assigned to it, which the public prosecutors have enter in a especially designed mobile application developed by NIC and based on that they are ranked in the Gold, Silver and Bronze category. Those ADPOs who are in the Gold category will be given chance to appear before the CJM court.”

“Those in the gold category will also be given preference in getting their choice of postings,” director Kumar said.

Director Kumar said that in the next stage even additional district prosecution officer and district prosecution officers will be given cases based on merit and we expect the conviction rate to increase across the board. “In the last six months conviction rate in the judicial magistrate’s court stands at around 60 per cent, which is around 20 per cent higher when compared to previous years and I expect this to increase further,” director Kumar added.

This year Madhya Pradesh prosecutors had the distinction of getting 21 death sentences, the highest in the country. Most of which were given to those accused of raping - murdering minors, officials said.

ADPO Sudha Bhadoriya, who is at the top of the gold list at present has given a thumbs up to the plan. “The best among us will get chance to appear at a higher court. It is increase our exposure and motivation level and also engender sense of competition.”

However, an ADPO who has got a bronze ranking and near the bottom of the pile is not very convinced. “Many among us are not tech savy and filling up details in our mobile is cumbersome and does not reflect the real caliber of a prosecutor. Often senior ADPOs help the freshers but this is not acknowledged in this system and it is only increasing jealously and creating rift in the ranks,” the ADPO, who did not want to be identified said.

Former advocate general Anand Mohan Mathur said he was not in agreement with the innovation. ”The role of the public prosecutor is not to get convictions, but serve the cause of justice. Under this scheme there might be an incentive to cut corners,” he said.

IN BOX

Assistant DPOs – 763

Additional DPOs and DPOs – 125

Dy Director Prosecution - 28

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