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Public prosecutors are not post offices of the government: SC


New Delhi, Sep 14: The Supreme Court said that public prosecutors are expected to act as independent persons and should not be totally guided by the instructions of the government and their actions should not be like a post office.

Public prosecutors are not post offices of the government: SC

A bench comprising of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice DY Chandrachud said a public prosecutor is required to assist the court and has to act with responsibility.

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The court was hearing an appeal against a Kerala high court order dismissing a plea against a trial court decision allowing to withdraw a criminal proceeding initiated against Eranad MLA and IUML leader PK Basheer for a controversial speech made in 2008.

Proceedings were initiated against him under sections 195A (threatening any person to give false evidence) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

The case was registered by the VS Achuthanandan-led LDF government but was later withdrawn by the UDF government.

The bench said in the case that the public prosecutor acted as a "post office".

"It is clearly manifest that the public prosecutor had not applied his mind but had only placed the government notification on record. It is a case where the public prosecutor had acted like a post office and the learned chief judicial magistrate has passed an order not within the parameters of Section 321 (withdrawal from prosecution) of the CrPC," the bench said.

"We are compelled to recapitulate that there are frivolous litigations but that does not mean that there are no innocent sufferers who eagerly wait for justice to be done.

"That apart, certain criminal offences destroy the social fabric. Every citizen gets involved in a way to respond to it; and that is why the power is conferred on the public prosecutor and the real duty is cast on him/her."

The bench while remitting the case back to the trial court for reconsideration said, "He/she has to act with responsibility."

"He/she is not to be totally guided by the instructions of the government but is required to assist the court and the court is duty bound to see the precedents and pass appropriate orders," it said.

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During the pendency of the criminal case, a petition was filed by the public prosecutor to withdraw from the prosecution and the chief judicial magistrate on January 4, 2012 allowed the application and permitted the public prosecutor to withdraw from the prosecution.

"It is clear as crystal the public prosecutor or an assistant public prosecutor, as the case may be, has an important role under the statutory scheme and is expected to act as an independent person. He/she has to apply his/her own mind and consider the effect of withdrawal on the society in the event such permission is granted," the court said.

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