Amiya Kumar Kushwaha
New Delhi, Feb 13 (IANS) A PIL has been filed in the Delhi High Court challenging the alleged “arbitrary and illegal” transfer of prosecuting officers of the Delhi government’s Directorate of Prosecution and seeking departmental action against its director Pankaj Sanghi for “misusing” his powers.
The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed by social activist Brij Mohan Sehgal through his advocate Haider Abbas.
As per law, prosecutors in the Directorate of Prosecution are deputed to conduct criminal cases in subordinate courts on behalf of the state and, unlike employees of other government departments, can be transferred only to the Food Safety Department and the Police Training College.
Sehgal in his plea said that 12 prosecuting officers have been transferred to other departments by the Director of Prosecution. “The arbitrary and illegal transfers/postings of prosecuting officers are being done by the respondent (Sanghi) in blatant disregard of the law, despite the fact that there is a shortage of prosecuting officers in the Directorate of Prosecution against the number of criminal courts in Delhi because of which the criminal justice delivery system suffers,” Sehgal said in his plea.
The plea seeks the court’s direction to withdraw the transfers and get the officers posted in criminal courts.
Sehgal said he was forced to move court after Sanghi did not pay heed to a representation by him on October 20, 2018.
In his plea, he has cited an RTI reply of November 24, 2018, which states that of the 12 prosecuting officers, two have been transferred to the Special Investigation Team, one to the Delhi Commission for Women, four to the Delhi Home Department, two to the Chief Minister’s Grievance Redress Cell and three to the state Law Ministry.
In each district, at least 10 per cent over and above the existing sanctioned strength of Assistant Public Prosecutors (APP) are not in the common pool, because of which court work is affected in the absence of APPs, it adds.
Sehgal said that it was because of shortage of prosecuting officers in the Directorate that a prosecutor is assigned duties in two-three courts.
Several pleas about shortage of prosecutors in the city are pending before the court, he added.
Sources said the Directorate of Prosecution has 183 assistant public prosecutors, 102 additional public prosecutors and 13 chief prosecutors. It is in the process of recruiting 47 more prosecutors.
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