KERALA

Public prosecutors to be evaluated: Minister

KOTTAYAM, AUG. 14. A mechanism to appraise and evaluate the performance of public prosecutors would be put in place shortly, the Law Minister, K. M. Mani, said here today.

Inaugurating a seminar and workshop on `Criminal justice and powers of public prosecutors' here today, the Minister said that public prosecutors have a key role to play in ensuring rule of law in the country.

One of the major reasons for losing criminal cases was the weakness in criminal investigation, he pointed out and added that an effective relationship between the police and public prosecutors would go a long way in overcoming this flaw in the dispensation of justice.

Witness selection

He also underscored the importance of selection of witnesses and said the prosecutors have the right to advise the police in selecting strong witnesses to be produced before the court. The Minister said the Government was seriously considering enhancement of emoluments of public prosecutors.

Justice Chettoor Sankaran Nair in his address stressed the need for close cooperation between the police and public prosecutors and said criminal investigation without prosecutors would be like `Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark'.

P. K. Hormis Tharakan, Director General of Police, too stressed the need for cooperation between public prosecutors and the police during investigation. He however, pointed to the many instances when the court had held the police solely responsible in losing a case.

Timely reviews

Earlier, as moderator of the seminar, the former Supreme Court judge, K. T. Thomas, stressed the need for timely reviews and changes in the judicial system and observed that the legal system should take a cue from medical and engineering sectors in this regard. The case of forensic medicine was an area where both legal and medical systems came face to face and here the former took the lead in making necessary changes in the legal system, he pointed out.

Mr. Thomas wanted the Government to introduce intensive training programme for the public prosecutors to keep them abreast of the latest changes. These training programmes should be a continuing process, he said. Mr. Thomas asked the prosecutors not to stand for an unmerited conviction as it `would be a calamity in jurisprudence.'

Mr. Justice M. Ramachandran of the Kerala High Court, the Kerala Government Pleaders and Prosecutors Association president, Tom Jose Padinjarekkara, the general secretary, B. Syama Prasad, the district and sessions judge, P. Bhavadasan, and others spoke on the occasion.

According to the organisers, this was the first time prosecutors, judicial officers and the police chief had sat together and talked about the need to move together in criminal investigation and trial. All the prosecutors in the State participated in the seminar and workshop, they said.

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