Role of the Public Prosecutor

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Role of the Public Prosecutor in the Criminal Justice System In independent India, it goes without saying that the criminal justice system (hereafter CJS) must function within the framework of the principles enunciated by the Constitution. Broadly speaking, these are as follows :

The guarantee of equality before the law
Equal protection of the laws
Prohibition of discrimination imposed upon the State
Deprivation of life / personal liberty only in accordance with procedure established by law Presumption of innocence of the accused
The requirement of proof beyond reasonable doubt
The right of the accused to remain silent
Arrest and detention in accordance with law and judicial guidelines Protection against double jeopardy
Non-retrospective punishment
No appraisal of the criminal justice system can suggest derogation from these principles. Rather, it is these very principles that are the indicators on the basis of which any evaluation of the criminal justice system may be made. The independence of the judicial system is a key element of the basic structure of Indian constitutional democracy via the separation of powers between the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary. Over the last fifty years there has been much debate and discussion on the independence of the Indian judicial system, with varying opinions depending upon the political, social and economic location of the discussants.

This project examines and probes one specific component of the CJS, viz. the office of the Public Prosecutor in India. It questions whether the above-mentioned constitutional principles and guarantees translate into reality during the course of criminal proceedings in an Indian court.

The Rationale of Public Prosecution

The underlying principle governing the CJS is that all crime (offences which have been codified as such in statutes) committed by an individual or groups against others are deemed to have been committed against society. Consequently the...
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