Do you think you are good at public speaking and can easily convince people? Are you someone who is willing to contribute significantly in the service of the common people? Are you someone who would be interested in assisting the state governments and individuals in cases filed against them? Do you think you are capable enough to handle high-profile criminal cases (sometimes) and take up extremely challenging cases? If these questions do not overwhelm you, then you might have landed on just the right career. Read on to know more about Public Prosecutors.
Public Prosecutors are government advocates and are in charge of the trial, appeal, and other processes in court. As a Public Prosecutor, you will assist the court by placing all the relevant information on the case with the help of the Police. Your primary responsibility would include conducting a pre-trial investigation in a civil or criminal case, supervising the implementation of penalties, defending the rights, and interests of persons and the State by following the measures established by law, and submitting claims and applications to courts in cases as needed by law.
Why Become a Public Prosecutor?
Public Prosecutors are State or Central Government appointed advocates who work with the police and other law enforcement agencies to frame charges against an accused of criminal activities as well as present the criminal cases before a court and argue during the trial before the judges (on behalf of the Government). They place all the evidence before the judges, submit documents, call and examine witnesses, etc. in order to ensure that the accused get the appropriate sentence (jail sentence, fines, etc.) as per the criminal laws of the country. They ensure that the litigating party (the Government or the Government on behalf of other people who are affected by a criminal activity) gets appropriate justice.
Public Prosecutors help police and other law enforcement agencies to gather evidence by obtaining arrest warrants, search warrants, etc. from an appropriate court. They help the police and other agencies to get custody of the accused, record evidence and prepare charge sheets (or frame charges) against the accused.
Public Prosecutors, as per the provisions under the Indian Penal Codes, are also required to examine cases and ensure that the accused people get proper justice and exercise all their rights under the law. They ensure that charges are framed only when there is proper evidence. They submit acquittal or discharge of the accused if there is no evidence.
As a Public Prosecutor, you would be in charge of criminal trials, appeals, and other processes in courts. You will assist the court by placing all the relevant information on the case with the help of Police and other law enforcement agencies. Your primary responsibility would include conducting a pre-trial investigation in a criminal case, supervising the implementation of penalties, defending the rights of the accused, and the interests of the persons affected by criminal activities as well as the interests of the State by following the measures established by law.
Public Prosecutors deal with cases in different roles depending on their rank, as per provisions under the Indian Penal Codes. The roles are:
Assistant Public Prosecutor: Assistant Public Prosecutors work with the police and other law enforcement agencies to facilitate criminal investigation against accused person/s and either frame charges or submit for acquittal depending on the evidence gathered by the police and other agencies. They examine the charge sheets prepared by the agencies and help them to make a good case so that the accused get the due sentences as provided under the laws. Assistant Public Prosecutors represent the Government in the court of Metropolitan Magistrate during criminal trials and argue the cases.
Additional Public Prosecutor: Additional Public Prosecutors plead cases in the Session Courts (District level courts for criminal trials) and also defend criminal trials at the High Courts. In general, State Governments appoint senior lawyers as Additional Public Prosecutors. Central Government can also appoint Additional Public Prosecutors.
Public Prosecutor: Public Prosecutors are appointed by State Governments and their roles are similar to the Additional Public Prosecutors. They plead cases in the Session Courts and High Courts along with the Additional Public Prosecutors. Central Government can also appoint Public Prosecutors.
Special Public Prosecutor: State or Central Governments may appoint top lawyers as Special Public Prosecutors for the trials and subsequent proceedings for special or very serious criminal cases.
Chief Public Prosecutor: State Governments appoint Chief Public Prosecutors to supervise the functions of the office of the Public Prosecutors which covers the work of the Assistant Public Prosecutors, Additional Public Prosecutors, and Public Prosecutors at the Metropolitan Magistrate courts, Session courts, and High courts.
Some States appoint a Director of Prosecution for the overall control and supervision of officers of the Public Prosecution Department.
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Advocate General and Attorney General of India
The State and Central Governments have advocated services that are entrusted with all the major administrative powers of the law ministry. At the state level, the Advocate General is the legal advisor and senior officer of the law. He is assisted by a team of Law officers and practices full supervision over the government pleaders, additional government pleaders, assistant government pleaders, etc. The legal advisor or the Advocate General supervises the law officers with litigation work whereas all the work related to criminal cases is distributed among the State Public Prosecutors.
At the Central Level, the Attorney General acts as the Chief Legal Advisor of the Government of India and the primary lawyer in the Supreme Court of India. He is appointed by the President of India on the recommendation of the Union Cabinet. The Attorney General appears on behalf of the government in all the cases of the Supreme Court of India. He is advised in legal matters only after the Ministry of Law has discussed it first.
While the Attorney General is the Chief Legal Advisor, the Solicitor General acts as the secondary law officer and is responsible for appearing in the Supreme Court or any High Court on behalf of the Government of India. He supervises the Additional Solicitors and advises the Government of India on legal matters and is also involved in performing other duties of a legal character.
What Does a Public Prosecutor do?
The role of the Public Prosecutor in the investigation process is as follows:
- You would appear in Court and obtain an arrest warrant of the accused.
- You would obtain search warrants to search the specified premises of the accused.
- You would also obtain a Police custody remand for custodial interrogation of the accused.
- You would record his advice in the Police file regarding the advisability of the prosecution.
The role of Public Prosecutor during the trials is as follows:
- You would be involved in playing the role in ensuring a speedy trial.
- You would be responsible for ensuring all the essential witnesses are called and none of the witnesses are left non-examined, further making sure that all the required documents are produced before the court in time while ensuring that no uncalled-for delay is caused to the proceeding.
- After the accused is proven guilty, you along with the defense counsel would be called upon to decide the quantum of the punishment. At this stage, you would be required to exercise discretion of arguing for an adequate punishment while keeping in view the gravity of the offense, the facts and the circumstances of the case. It is very important at this stage that you help the Court arrive at a judicious decision.
How to Become a Public Prosecutor – Eligibility Criteria
After completing Class 11-12 with any subject as per the scheme of studies you can either go for a 5-year integrated Law course or first pursue graduation in any subject or then go for a degree in Law. You must appear for and successfully clear the All India Bar Examination (AIBE) conducted by the Bar Council of India after getting your Law degree. After having a minimum experience of 3 years you may sit for the Assistant Public Prosecutor examination which is conducted by various state PSCs.
After completing Class 11-12 with any subject as per the scheme of studies you can either go for a 5-year integrated Law course or first pursue graduation in any subject or then go for a degree in Law. You must appear for and successfully clear the All India Bar Examination (AIBE) conducted by the Bar Council of India after getting a Law degree. After acquiring a minimum experience of 7 years you will be eligible for direct recruitment by the State Government for the post of Public Prosecutor.
You would begin as an Assistant Public Prosecutor in the state and may find several job opportunities in the following organizations:
- Central Bureau of Investigation
- National Investigation Agency (NIA)
- Ministry of Home Affairs (Narcotics Control Bureau)
- State government (Executive Magistrate’s Courts, Metropolitan Magistrate’s Courses, District Sessions Courts, High Courts)
- Central Government (District Sessions Courts, High Courts, Supreme Court)
Salary of a Public Prosecutor
As Assistant Public Prosecutor you would earn around Rs. 53,600 – 63,300 or more.
As a Public Prosecutor, you would earn around Rs. 73,200 – 1,02,800 per month or more.
As Chief of Public Prosecution, you would earn around Rs. 1,50,000 – 1,90,000 per month or more.
As Directorate of Prosecution, you would earn around Rs. 2,00,000 – 2,75,000 per month or more.
Career Progression in Public Prosecutor Profession
The organization set up in each State could be different. Therefore your career progression would be different in different States. Some examples are:
At Sub-Divisional level – Assistant Prosecutor – Assistant Director of Prosecution (ADGP) – Director of Prosecution
At District Level – Assistant Public Prosecutor – Additional Public Prosecutor – Public Prosecutor – ADGP (Prosecution)
District level – Assistant Prosecution Officer – Sub-divisional Prosecution Officer (SG) – District Prosecution Officer (DPO) – Director Prosecution
Directorate Level – Assistant Director – Assistant Director-legal- Deputy Director-legal – Joint Secretary cum Joint Director – Director Prosecution
In Uttar Pradesh:
District – Assistant Prosecution Officer – Prosecution Officer – Senior Prosecution Officer – Joint Director Prosecution – Director General of Prosecution, UP
Divisional – Additional Director Prosecution – Director-General Prosecution
Head Office – Assistant Prosecution Officer – Prosecution Officer – Senior Prosecution Officer – Joint Director Prosecution – Additional Director Prosecution – Director Prosecution – Director-General Prosecution
In Andhra Pradesh:
District Administration: Assistant Public Prosecutor – Senior Public Prosecutor – Additional Public Prosecutor Gr. III – Deputy Director of Prosecution/Additional Public Prosecutor Gr. I – Director of Prosecutions
State Administration: Public Prosecutor – Joint Director of Prosecutions – Additional Director of Prosecutions – Director of Prosecutions
Assistant Public Prosecutor – Senior Assistant Public Prosecutor/Law Officer – Public Prosecutor/Senior Law Officer – Deputy Director of Prosecutions – Director of Prosecutions – Additional Chief Secretary(Home) – Home Minister
Assistant Public Prosecutor Gr. II – Assistant Public Prosecutor Gr. I – Assistant Public Prosecutor Sr. Gr. – Deputy Director of Prosecution – Director of Prosecution – Special Attorney Kerala Lok Ayukta – Director General of Prosecution & State Public Prosecutor
In Madhya Pradesh:
Assistant DPO – DPO/Additional DPO – DDP – Joint Director (Prosecution) – Director Prosecution – PS Home – Home Minister
Assistant DPO – DPO/Additional DPO – Assistant Director – Joint Director (Prosecution) – Director Prosecution – PS Home – Home Minister
Assistant Public Prosecutor – Public Prosecutor – Deputy Director – Joint Director – Director
Additional Public Prosecutor – Public Prosecutor – Deputy Director – Joint Director – Director
Assistant Prosecution Officer – Assistant Director of Prosecution – Deputy Director of Prosecution – Director of Prosecution
In Tamil Nadu:
Additional Public Prosecutor – Additional Director Prosecutor – Deputy Director of Prosecution – Joint Director of Prosecution – Director of Prosecution
What does Industry Trends Say – Future Prospects
According to Financial Express, there is over 3.4 crore pending cases in India’s courts. Moreover, nearly 55% of cases in lower courts haven’t proceeded for further investigation and under 10% for over a decade and 80% of the delays in case proceedings have been caused by the lawyers. The numbers in Indian courts of pending and delayed cases is not only alarming but also point out to the fact that the causes for such an increase in the number. The challenges like political influence in cases against a government or the lack of government pleaders and prosecutors must be taken into consideration.
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