With a shortage of prosecutors being one of the impediments in the efficient administration of justice, a PIL has been filed in the Delhi High Court on Monday against the illegal posting/ transfer of prosecutors to other departments in Delhi government while also seeking departmental action against the Director of Prosecution for making such transfers.
The PIL has been filed by Brij Mohan Sehgal through advocate Haidar Abbas challenging the arbitrary and illegal transfer/posting of prosecuting officers of Directorate of Prosecution, Government of NCT of Delhi, to other departments.
The PIL says that, “As per law, the Prosecutors appointed in the Directorate of Prosecution are deputed to conduct criminal cases on behalf of the State in subordinate courts and unlike employees of other Government Departments; the prosecuting officers are not transferred to any other Department except to Food Safety Department and Police Training College”.
However, an RTI response received on November 24, 2018, revealed that 12 prosecuting officers have been transferred/ posted to other departments – two to Special Investigation Team, one has been moved to Delhi Commission for Women, four to Home Department (Govt. of NCT of Delhi), two to Chief Minister Grievance Redressal Cell and three officers stand transferred to the Delhi Law Ministry.
“The arbitrary and illegal transfer/posting of prosecuting officers are being done by the Respondent in blatant disregard of the law despite the fact that there are shortage of prosecuting officers in the Directorate of Prosecution as against the number of criminal courts in Delhi and because of which criminal justice delivery system is being suffered,” says the PIL.
It also refers to a counter-reply filed by the Director of Prosecution, the Principal Secretary and the Chief Secretary, Govt. of NCT, in the year 2015 before the Central Administrative Tribunal in case titled A.K. Padhy v. Government Of NCT of Delhi, wherein they had stated that prosecutors appointed in the Directorate of Prosecution are primarily deputed to conduct criminal cases on behalf of the State in subordinate courts and unlike employees of other government departments, the prosecuting officers are not transferred to any other department except to Prevention of Food Adulteration Department (now Food Safety Department) and Police Training College.
The PIL further states that on July 18, 2018, an online representation was made to the Delhi Chief Minister requesting him to initiate an enquiry into the matter, besides bringing back the prosecuting officers transferred to other departments to the Directorate of Prosecution while also suggesting that they should be kept in common pool so that absence of any prosecutor on any ground does not affect court works but no action has been taken till date.
This was followed by representation to the present Director of Prosecution, Pankaj Sanghi, in October 2018, which also received no response.
The petitioner says as per the RTI reply from the Director of Prosecution, there are 11 Chief Prosecutors in the Directorate of Prosecution out of which only four Chief Prosecutors have been attached to courts. The remaining Chief Prosecutors are not attached to any court despite a shortage of prosecutors as against the number of criminal courts.