Section 2(u) of CrPC defines “Public Prosecutor”. It reads as follows:-
“(u) “Public Prosecutor” means any person appointed under Section 24, and includes any person acting under the directions of a Public Prosecutor.”
Section 24 CrPC deals with Public Prosecutors.
“24. Public Prosecutors.- (1) For every High Court, the Central Government or the State Government shall, after consultation with the High Court, appoint a Public Prosecutor and may also appoint one or more Additional Public Prosecutors, for conducting in such Court, any prosecution, appeal or other proceeding on behalf of the Central Government or State Government, as the case may be.
(3) For every district, the State Government shall appoint a Public Prosecutor and may also appoint one or more Additional Public Prosecutors for the district: Provided that the Public Prosecutor or Additional Public Prosecutor appointed for one district may be appointed also to be a Public Prosecutor or an Additional Public Prosecutor, as the case may be, for another district.
(8) The Central Government or the State Government may appoint, for the purposes of any case or class of cases, a person who has been in practice as an advocate for not less than ten years as a Special Public Prosecutor. Provided that the Court may permit the victim to engage an advocate of this choice to assist the prosecution under this Sub-section.”
Section 25A deals with the Directorate of Prosecution. It reads as follows: –
“25A. Directorate of Prosecution. – (1) The State Government may establish a Directorate of Prosecution consisting of a Director of Prosecution and as many Deputy Directors of Prosecution as it thinks fit.
(2) A person shall be eligible to be appointed as a Director of Prosecution or a Deputy Director of Prosecution, only if he has been in practice as an advocate for not less than ten years and such appointment shall be made with the concurrence of the Chief Justice of the High Court.
(3) The Head of the Directorate of Prosecution shall be the Director of Prosecution, who shall function under the administrative control of the Head of the Home Department in the State.
(4) Every Deputy Director of Prosecution shall be subordinate to the Director of Prosecution.
(5) Every Public Prosecutor, Additional Public Prosecutor and Special Public Prosecutor appointed by the State Government under sub-section (1), or as the case may be, sub-section (8), of section 24 to conduct cases in the High Court shall be subordinate to the Deputy Director of Prosecution.
(6) Every Public Prosecutor, Additional Public Prosecutor and Special Public Prosecutor appointed by the State Government under sub-section (3), or as the case may be, sub-section (8), of section 24 to conduct cases in District Courts and every Assistant Public Prosecutor appointed under sub-section (1) of section 24 shall be subordinate to the Deputy Director of Prosecution.
(7) The powers and functions of the Director of Prosecution and the Deputy Directors of Prosecution and the areas for which each of the Deputy Directors of Prosecution have been appointed shall be such as the State Government may, by notification, specify.
(8) The provisions of this section shall not apply to the Advocate General for the State while performing the functions of a Public Prosecutor.”
Section 301(1) CrPC that deals with the appearance by Public Prosecutors reads thus:-
“301. Appearance by Public Prosecutors.- (1) The Public Prosecutor or Assistant Public Prosecutor in charge of a case may appear and plead without any written authority before any Court in which that case is under inquiry, trial or appeal.”
The aforesaid provisions have to be appreciated in a schematic context. All the provisions reproduced hereinabove are to be read and understood as one singular scheme. They cannot be read bereft of their text and context. If they are read as parts of different schemes, there is bound to be anomaly. Such an interpretation is to be avoided, and the careful reading of the CrPC, in reality, avoids the same.
- The dictionary clause in 2 (u) only refers to a person appointed under Section 24 CrPC and includes any person acting under the directions of a Public Prosecutor.
- The class or status of the Public Prosecutor is controlled by Section 24 and 25A of the CrPC.
- On a careful x-ray of the provisions of Section 24 it is clearly demonstrable that Section 24(1) has restricted the appointment of Public Prosecutor for the High Court, for the provision commences with words “for every High Court.”
- Sub-section (3) deals with the appointment of Public Prosecutor or Additional Public Prosecutor for the districts.
- Sub- section (8) of section 24 deals with appointment of Special Public Prosecutor for any case or class of cases. A Public Prosecutor who is appointed in connection with a district his working sphere has to be restricted to the district unless he is specially engaged to appear before the higher court. A Special Public Prosecutor when he is appointed for any specific case and that too for any specific court, it is a restricted appointment.
- In this context Section 25A of the Code renders immense assistance. The State Government is under obligation to establish directorate of prosecution. Section 25A clearly stipulates that Public Prosecutor, Additional Public Prosecutor and Special Public Prosecutor are appointed by the State Government under sub-Section (1) or under sub- Section (8) of Section 24 to conduct cases in the High Court, shall be subordinate to the Director of Prosecution.
- Sub-section (6) postulates that the three categories named herein appointed by the State Government to conduct cases in the district courts shall be subordinate to Deputy Director of Prosecution. Thus, the scheme makes a perceptible demarcation and compartmentalization for the Public Prosecutor in the High Court and the district courts.
- Section 301 occurs in Chapter XXIV CrPC that deals with the “General provisions as to Inquiries and Trials”. Sections 24 (8) and 301 (1) when read together, needless to say, confers a right on the Public Prosecutor who is in charge of a case to appear and plead without having any written authority. He remains and functions as the sole authority in charge of the case. There can be no cavil over the same.
- The core question is, whether “in charge of the case” would include an appeal arising out of the said case in the hierarchical system. Section 24 (1) deals with the specific power of the Government to appoint Public Prosecutor. Section 24(8) confers the power on the State Government to appoint a Special Public Prosecutor for any case or class of cases.
- To give an example, there can be a batch of cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act against number of persons arising out of different FIRs but involving similar transactions. To have a proper trial the Government is entitled to appoint a Special Public Prosecutor. If the word “case” is given a meaning to include the appeal, it will be denuding the power of appointing authority. The law does not so countenance. If the Government by a notification appoints an eligible person clearly stating that he shall conduct the trial as well as pursue the appeal arising out of it, there will be no difficulty.
- Public Prosecutor once engaged/appointed by the State, he can prosecute the appeal without filing any formal authority for the said purpose. It cannot be construed to the extent that solely because he has been appointed in connection with the trial case, he can appear before the High Court for which he has not been appointed in pursuance of Section 24 (1) CrPC.
- A Public Prosecutor has to be specifically appointed for the appeals or revisions or other proceedings in the High Court.
- A Public Prosecutor who is appointed to conduct a case before the trial court cannot be deemed to be appointed for the purpose of appeal arising therefrom solely because of the language employed in Section 301(1) of CrPC.
K. Anbazhagan vs State Of Karnataka And Others (2015)