Other States

Jammu and Kashmir police stripped of ‘prosecution’ wing

Dilbagh Singh

Dilbagh Singh  

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The order has caused consternation among police officers

In the new Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir, the police have been stripped of the “prosecution” wing.

Earlier, police officers could appear in magisterial courts as public prosecutors.

The arrangement stands quashed now.

The order has caused consternation among J&K police officers, who claim this was done to take away their powers and a “middle ground” is being worked out.

As per the directions of the Centre, a separate Directorate of Prosecution has been sanctioned by an order of the J&K administration on October 30 that will not include police officers.

Earlier, this wing was headed by an officer of the rank of Deputy Inspector General.

The J&K police website said the wing supervised and dealt with “all the departmental litigations viz writs, appeals, civil suits, claim petitions, special leave petitions, contempt pleas, criminal prosecution etc.”

In the UT of Delhi, the police function through the Department of Prosecution under the Delhi government.

On November 6, a public interest litigation (PIL) petition was filed before the Jammu Division Bench of J&K High Court challenging the order.

“It was a different set up in J&K, like other important organisations like the CBI. The prosecution wing was working as part of police. It was a dual system, where police officers could appear in Magistrate Court as prosecution lawyers. In higher courts, we used to engage public prosecutors,” said a senior J&K official.

Position in other parts

The J&K High Court has asked the UT of J&K to for a counter affidavit to be filed within four weeks. I

t also gave a direction to examine the position in other parts of the country to see if the process of appointing police officers as prosecutors existed anywhere else.

J&K Director General of Police Dilbag Singh said the prosecution wing functioned under the Police Act, 1983. “A PIL has been filed in the J&K High Court... our officers had the mandate to appear in lower courts, we will continue to have a legal wing.”

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 5:03:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/jammu-and-kashmir-police-stripped-of-prosecution-wing/article29946954.ece

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