Witnesses turn hostile or do not turn up to testify, says official

Director of Prosecutions and Government Litigations in-charge Chandrashekhar G. Hiremath has revealed that only 10 per cent of criminal cases handled by his department result in convictions as witnesses turn hostile or do not turn up to testify.

Speaking on the sidelines of a press conference here on Tuesday, Mr. Hiremath said: “More than 50 per cent of witnesses do not turn up in courts to give their statements. Another 30 per cent turn hostile and do not cooperate. With 80 per cent of witnesses unwilling to cooperate, only 10 per cent result in convictions.”

Sources in the department said witnesses are not paid the TA (Travelling Allowance) and DA (Daily Allowance).

“There is no proper drinking water and toilet facility for the witnesses and sometimes there is not enough space for them to even stand in the prosecutor’s office and in the court room,” he said. Sometimes, investigating police personnel involved in some of the cases do not turn up for hearings.

Joint Director of Prosecution in-charge S.S. Patil said there were a number of vacant posts in the department which need to be filled. Many senior prosecutors had either retired or had been promoted resulting in vacancies, he said.

According to the department, 195 posts of prosecutors (mainly C and D category) have been lying vacant.

The crucial post of Director of Prosecutions has been vacant since May 2013 while three posts of deputy director have fallen vacant due to the previous officers retiring. Also, 43 posts of public prosecutor/Law officer (Senior) and 132 posts of assistant public prosecutor are vacant. Meanwhile, 42 posts of stenographer, 124 posts of typist and 155 posts of dalayats have been outsourced with the government’s permission.

Mr. Hiremath said the previous round of staff recruitment was in 1987. “The process of recruitment of 197 posts of assistant public prosecutors has been started and is expected to be completed by the year-end,” he added.

Insufficient

Meanwhile, sources also added that facilities on the premises of the public prosecutor’s office were insufficient. Apart from poor staff strength, the office premises had a severe shortage of telephones and computers.

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