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HC sets aside appointment special public prosecutor

An advocate, who has appeared for a complainant, cannot be appointed as special public prosecutor to argue on behalf of the state government in the same case.

mumbai Updated: Nov 28, 2010 01:08 IST
Urvi Mahajani

An advocate, who has appeared for a complainant, cannot be appointed as special public prosecutor to argue on behalf of the state government in the same case.

While setting aside the appointment of advocate Charmine Bakaroo, the Bombay High Court also rapped the Maharashtra government and the directorate of prosecution for not following the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court while appointing a special public prosecutor.

While hearing a petition filed by Jayesh Doshi, who is an accused in a cheating case filed in 2002, a division bench of Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice UD Salvi set aside Bakaroo’s appointment.

“Merely observing [in appointment order] that the case has chequered history… coupled with the fact that the high court has directed expedited disposal… and the complainant is ready to pay the professional fee of the special public prosecutor, we are afraid, is not sufficient compliance of the guidelines laid down in Prakash Pralhad Patil’s case [a Supreme Court judgement],” observed the high court.

The judges observed that the appointment of a special public prosecutor should be done in the “interest of the public” and not merely for the “sake of asking [by complainant]”.

Nimesh Shah had lodged a complaint in 2002 against Doshi alleging that the latter had made false representation during share transactions causing him a loss of around Rs 20 lakh. Then Bakaroo had represented Shah.

As there was not much progress in the case, Shah wrote a letter to the government seeking appointment of a special public prosecutor and suggested Bakaroo’s name. He even expressed willingness to foot the expenses of the special public prosecutor.

In January 2010, Bakaroo was appointed as special public prosecutor, which was challenged by Doshi in the high court.

Shyam Marwadi, advocate for Doshi, argued that Bakaroo was representing the complainant [Shah] and was actively participating in the trial on his behalf. “How can she then be appointed as special public prosecutor?” argued Marwadi, adding that the government had not even given a reasoned order showing “interest of public” in the appointment.