The Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court recently directed that politicians, Ministers and bureaucrats, who are accused, should not be part of the decision-making process on the appointment of public prosecutors and special public prosecutors.

A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Mohit S. Shah and Justice R.P. Sondurbaldota, while disposing of a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by Datta Naik, seeking impartiality in appointment of public prosecutors in criminal cases, limited the role of the government in the appointment.

In his PIL, Mr. Naik pointed out that a Law Minister of the State, who was an accused, had appointed a special public prosecutor, which amounted to making a mockery of the criminal justice system.

The court observed: “Politicians, Ministers or bureaucrats who are themselves involved as accused persons or who are blood relations of the accused person, shall not participate in the matter and they will have no say whatsoever in the decision-making process concerning the appointment of public prosecutors.”

This applied to the appointment of special public prosecutors too, it said.

The court also gave guidelines for the appointment of public prosecutors in lower courts and district courts, thereby limiting the government’s role to examining the antecedents of the candidates, for which it may make inquiries through the police or intelligence machinery.

In consultation

The appointment of public prosecutors in the High Court shall be made in consultation with the court, in accordance with the provisions of Section 24(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code, the order stated.

Ruling limits role

of government in choosing public prosecutor, special public prosecutor