Kerala

HC stays Lakshadweep ADM’s directive to assistant prosecutor

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Tuesday stayed the order of the Additional District Magistrate directing the Assistant Public Prosecutor at Amini Island, Lakshadweep, to attend the Legal Cell at the Secretariat for completing urgent pending works until further orders.

The Bench comprising Justice K. Vinod Chandran and Justice M.R. Anitha also directed the Administrator, Union Territory of Lakshadweep to ensure that the prosecutor was posted in the island where the courts are functioning.

The court issued the order on a petition filed by Muhammed Saleem K.P, Andrott Island, Lakshadweep.

The petitioner said that the Assistant Public Prosecutors working at Andrott and Amini were also directed to involve themselves in the affairs of the legal works of several departments including the preparation of charge sheet. The action of the administration would lose the confidence of the common man in the independence of the Assistant Prosecutors.

The Sub Judge in the island had also informed the Bench that prosecutors were deputed to the island in Kavaratti for vetting of charges. Therefore, no cases had been posted for trial after the reopening of the courts.

In its order the court said “we are of the prima facie opinion that the prosecutors appointed for the functioning of the courts are to be posted in the islands where courts are functioning and if any vetting charges have to be made by them, it is for the administration to see that the documents are transmitted to them at the island where they are supposed to function as prosecutors. Hence, we stay the order.”

When the case came up for hearing, the court told the standing counsel for Lakshadweep administration, “you know what is happening in Lakshadweep, Not about the new papers report and all, on the judicial side I have warned you once as I am the judge in charge of the administration there.”

The petitioner contended that the present order was rampant abuse of power.

In Lakshadweep, courts were located in three Islands. While the Magistrate Court was at Andrott, the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court cum Assistant Session Court is functioning at Amini . The District and Sessions Court was at Kavaratti. The Union Territory did not have a regular cadre of prosecutors. The petitioner pointed out that the during the last four months, no criminal trial could be completed in Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, Lakshadweep due to the absence of Assistant Public Prosecutor at the trial proceedings. The Assistant Sessions Court and Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, Amini could not conduct criminal trials as well .

The action of the administration in giving less importance to the due process of the judicial system in Lakshadweep could not be tolerated.

The Public Prosecutor, an officer of the Court, was bound to assist the court with his fairly considered view and the court was entitled to have the benefit of the fair exercise of his function. Therefore, the Lakshadweep administration had the duty to treat Assistant Public Prosecutors as independent officials and appoint them primarily to assist the courts, petitioner contended.


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Printable version | Jul 6, 2022 6:56:47 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/hc-stays-lakshadweep-adms-directive-to-assistant-prosecutor/article34640033.ece