SC Laid Down Norms for Appointment of Government Lawyers and Public Prosecutors

On Thursday, the hon’ble Apex Court had enunciated certain norms to be followed by the state governments for selecting public prosecutors and also other government advocates. The Court has restricted the power vested with the ruling party to appoint lawyers according to their discretion which was the practice followed since now. The Court said that when selecting lawyers for the government, the primary criteria to be considered is competence and the state governments should make sure that they does not appoint persons involved in crimes.

The main question here was regarding the appointment of public prosecutors and government advocates for the Uttar Pradesh district courts. But now the above mentioned norms will be applicable to all other states in India. The bench consisted of Justice Vikramjit Sen and A M Sapre who gave an effective verdict on the appointment of government advocates. The Court further pointed out that without doubt, considering the need for  an actual criminal system the lawyers who possess firm principles shall alone be appointed for this post. Otherwise there would be overall failure of justice. While selecting the lawyers, the state government should take into consideration the criminal antecedents along with forensic competence.

The bench also made it clear that the court did not mean that there should be any security of tenure for such persons. To substantiate the verdict, the court relied on Johri Mal case where the apex court refused to allow a claim raised by a lawyer for renewing his term as a government advocate each time. The court agreed with this precedent and said the principle applied in that case would be accurate. In that case the supreme court had also stated that the district counsel lacks statutory right to renew the term of government lawyer. The court also said that the right way is to make sure that the advocates are competent for being appointed as government lawyers.

Adv. Jewel Panicker