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Career As A Public Prosecutor



WHO IS A PUBLIC PROSECUTOR?

A Public Prosecutor is an officer of the court helping in the administration of justice. It is clear from the fact that the main duty of the Public Prosecutor is to help the court in finding the facts of the case. The Public Prosecutor must be impartial, fair and honest. He must act on the directions of the judge. He should not believe in the conviction of an accused by hook or crook. The guiding principles of any public prosecution must be equity, justice and good conscience.

In India, we have a public prosecutor who acts in accordance with the directions of the judge. Normally, the control of the entire trial is in the hands of the trial judge. Investigation is the prerogative of the police. However, it is generally believed that traditional right of nulle prosequi is available to the prosecutor. The public prosecutor in India does not seem to be an advocate of the state in the sense that the prosecutor has to seek conviction at any cost.

The present criminal justice system of Indian state is based on the belief that any crime committed by a person or groups against others is believed to have been committed against the society. The prosecution and reprimand for the crime is the responsibility of the state and not that victim of crime. Such prosecution, on behalf of the state, is done by the Public Prosecutor.

A Public Prosecutor can be defined as a Minister of Justice who plays a critical role in maintaining purity and impartiality in the area of administration of criminal justice.

Prosecutors are associated either to the civil law inquisitorial system or the common law adversarial system. The legal parties who are responsible for presenting a criminal case against an individual who is suspected to have broken the law are called as the prosecution

Public Prosecutors are part of the judicial procedure and are considered to be officers of the Court. They are in charge of the trial, appeal and other processes in Court. Major task of a public prosecutor is to assist the court by placing before the court all pertinent aspects of the case. They have to deal with different fields in the administration of justice.

WHAT DOES A PUBLIC PROSECUTOR DO?

Their job is divided into two parts:

In investigating process

During the trial

Role of the Public Prosecutor in the investigating process

To make an appearance in the Court and obtain an arrest warrant

To obtain search warrants for conducting a search in specified premises

To obtain police custody remand for interrogation (including custodial interrogation) of the accused

To initiate a proceeding for the declaration of the non-traceable offender as the proclaimed offender

To record the evidence of accused in the police report regarding the advisability of the prosecutions

Role of Public Prosecutors at the time of trial

Sentencing- when the accused is proven guilty, then the defence counsel and the Public Prosecutor further argue to decide the quantum of punishment. At this stage, the Public Prosecutor may argue for the adequate punishment keeping in mind the facts, circumstances of case and gravity of the offence. It helps the judge to arrive at a judicious decision.

To conduct a speedy trial- Right to a speedy trial is a fundamental right and it is impliedly given in Article 21 of Constitution of India which states “Right to life and Personal Liberty”. The prosecutors have a responsibility to call all the witnesses whose evidence is essential to decide the case. To cross-examine the witness and to see that no witness is left unexamined. To produce all the necessary documents.

Other Important Roles

The Public Prosecutor cannot aggravate the facts of the case or deny to examine the witness whose evidence may weaken the case. The main aim must be to discover the truth.

He should not defend the accused. It is against the fair play of administration of justice or against the legal profession.

He represents the State, not police. He is an Officer of State and is appointed by the State Government. He is not a part of any investigating agencies but an independent authority. He is charged with statutory duties.

Superintendent of; police or District Magistrate cannot compel the Public Prosecutor to withdraw the case.

If there is an issue which is raised by defence counsel and failed, it should be brought out in the notice of the court by the Public Prosecutor.

To ensure that justice is done.

TYPES OF PROSECUTOR

Assistant Public Prosecutors - Assistant Public Prosecutor Officers scrutinize charge sheets prepared by the investigating agency and submit discharge/ acquittal. They evaluate the evidence in each case and make their recommendations for filing revision petitions or appeals against impugned orders and judgments, as well as conduct cases in Courts of Metropolitan Magistrates.

Additional Prosecutors - Additional Public Prosecutors conduct cases in Sessions Courts

Chief Prosecutors - Chief Prosecutors supervise the work of Assistant Public Prosecutors in the Courts of Metropolitan Magistrates

Public Prosecutor - Public Prosecutor is responsible for supervision of prosecution work conducted by Additional Public Prosecutors in the Sessions Courts

Director of Prosecution – The Director of Prosecution is the Head of Office. The Director of Prosecution looks after the Establishment and Accounts Branches and exercises overall control over officers of the Directorate

WHAT IS THE WORK ENVIRONMENT AND SCHEDULE OF A PUBLIC PROSECUTOR LIKE?

Most prosecutors keep full-time hours. Due to court schedules, prosecutors normally work Monday through Friday. Trials involving complex issues, serious crimes, numerous witnesses or a combination thereof may run into evenings or weekends and last several days or weeks. With cases that grab significant media or other public attention may come at least several days spent on jury selection.

Outside of court, the prosecutor job description means spending office hours preparing subpoenas and other documents, interviewing police and witnesses, reviewing evidence and negotiating possible plea deals with defense lawyers. In some cases, prosecutors may have to interview witnesses on evenings or weekends to accommodate their schedules and may travel to crime scenes or meet with witnesses who are homebound or in the hospital.

SKILLS

Analytical Skills. Prosecutors need skills in interpreting statutes and rules, applying criminal law to facts and determining the significance of testimony or other items of evidence. The analysis also consists of assessing the credibility of witnesses based on factors such as bias or inconsistency in statements.

Ethical Skills. The prosecutor job description includes the ability to fairly and impartially decide whether and how to prosecute accused persons. Prosecutors must avoid ethical lapses such as withholding evidence that may negate guilt, relying on false evidence and mistreating the law or facts. Ethical behavior means sometimes taking actions that prevent an unjust conviction.

Organizational Skills. Prosecutors handle and must prepare multiple cases for trial or plea. Managing the caseload requires prosecutors to mark deadlines for subpoenas and other court submissions, maintain contact information for witnesses, and track court dates. The ability to organize also promotes planning of trials by deciding the order of presenting witnesses and evidence.

Persuasive Skills. To convince juries to render guilty verdicts, prosecutors need to speak and write clearly and connect with juries. Persuasion also involves having a command of the important evidence, facts and law; and avoiding inconsistencies and illogical arguments.

● Prosecuting attorneys must feel comfortable in courtrooms, so trial experience may be beneficial.

● They must also have an understanding of their communities' needs and the motivations driving law breakers.

● Successful prosecution can lead to an individual's loss of rights, and so a criminal prosecution lawyer must use discretion, perform careful research, and seek justice.

● Strong written and oral communication.

● Good reasoning and logical skills.

● Thorough knowledge of the laws of the country

● Skilled in studying cases thoroughly

● Trained in arranging for evidence and witnesses for the case

● Knowledge of all the legal notices that may be issued against a government organization

● Ability to advise the government on hearing of cases.

● Hardworking

● Focused

● Persistent

WORK ACTIVITIES

Public Prosecutors have responsibilities to the State, to the accused and to the Court. Their major tasks are involved inside the criminal courts. Key responsibility of a Public Prosecutor includes:

● Representing state in sessions cases and lending advice to officers in districts in all legal matters, when called for

● Studying records of cases sent to Sessions Court by Trial Magistrate and guaranteeing against omission and irregularities, which might vitiate proceedings in court

● Presenting evidence, conducting cross-examination and arguing case for prosecution

● Appearing and pleading on behalf of prosecution in all appeal cases, application for reduction of sentences, etc.

● Advising Government Officers in district regarding any civil or criminal proceedings and matters concerning Government interests

● Allotting legal work to Assistant Public Prosecutors

● Appearing for Government in civil and revenue cases, if designated as Government Pleader

● Advising Government to withdraw prosecution in appropriate case

● conducting pre-trial investigation in civil and criminal case

● supervising implementation of penalties

● protecting rights and lawful interests of persons and the State in accordance with procedures established by law

● submitting claims and applications to courts in cases as required by law.

EDUCATION AND TRAINING

The public prosecutor is an important officer of the state government and is appointed by the state government under the provisions of criminal procedure code.

A person shall be eligible to be appointed as a Public Prosecutor or an Additional Public Prosecutor in a High court, only if he has a degree in law, has been in practice as an advocate for not less than seven years and after due consultation with the High Court.

Candidates interested in making a career as a public prosecutor, must generally obtain a law degree, become approved to practice law in their jurisdiction and find and apply for an opening. In some cases, they also must meet experience requirements and may have to undergo criminal background or other investigations. Specific requirements vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so you should carefully investigate those of the jurisdiction for which they wish to work.

A person to be appointed as a Public Prosecutor or Assistant Public Prosecutor must have been in practice as an advocate for at least seven years, for the purpose of the appointment of Public Prosecutor or Additional Public Prosecutor. He/she must have been a practice as an advocate for not less than ten years for the appointment of a Special Public Prosecutor

The Central Government or the State Government may also appoint an advocate who has been in practice for not less than ten years as Special Public Prosecutor, for the purposes of any case or class of cases.

To become a Public Prosecutor

Applicants who wish to become public prosecutors must appear for the examination that is set by the Union Public Service commission (UPSC). The written test is followed by an interview. The selected candidates will be notified through mail.

A person shall only be eligible to be appointed as a Public Prosecutor if he/ she is a citizen of India

Person must practice as an Advocate for a period of not less than seven years.

Candidates must be not less than 35 years and not more than 45 years of age at the time of applying (The maximum age limit of the candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes shall be may be fixed by the Government from time to time.)

PAYSCALE

In India, pay scale for the position Public Prosecutor varies according to their jurisdiction. These government employees are entitled to receive pay scales as prescribed by the government and also receives incentives and other allowances. Public prosecutors are also sometimes paid on a consolidated pay basis (a fixed salary without any perks or allowances). Public Prosecutors working in the central bureau of investigation can get a consolidated pay scale. For freshers - INR 9,300 to INR 34,800 per month.


JOB OUTLOOK AND JOB PROSPECTS

For the new attorney determined to become a Prosecutor, there is great possibility of securing a position. There are huge prosecutor positions in India. Although prior trial experience is often required, entry level positions may also be available to new attorneys who have offered their services or gained experience through work as an intern while attending law school. Prosecutors with experience at the state level may desire to move into prosecution at the federal level. Other possible career opportunities are joining a private law firm, working for a corporation, or looking for a judgeship. In brief, Public Prosecutor is any responsible person appointed under Section 24 and includes any person acting under the directions of a Public Prosecutor.

The prevalence of criminal activity should sustain the need for prosecutors at both the central and state levels. As prosecutors are government employees, budget resources and priorities may stunt somewhat the availability and growth in the number of positions.

With accumulated experience and results, including convictions, come responsibility for more serious prosecutions. Such leads to more senior roles and higher pay. District attorneys or states’ attorneys are generally elected and serve defined terms. Those officials hire their assistant attorneys and assign duties.

Other similar job opportunities because of several classes of public prosecutors:

● Public Prosecutor appointed by the Central Government

● Public Prosecutor appointed by the State Government

● Public Prosecutor

● Additional Public Prosecutor

● Special Public Prosecutor appointed by the Central Government

● Special Public Prosecutor, appointed by the State Government

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


What is it like being a Public Prosecutor?

1. Discretion. Almost the entire case/outcome is in your hands. As a prosecutor, you get to weigh all the balancing scales in your hands. The prosecutor assesses the case, places offers on the case, and negotiates with the defense. If the case gets dismissed or settled, it’s 99% likely the prosecutor had a major part in that. 2. Power. With that being said, the job comes with a lot of power. The defendant’s life is quite literally in your hands, and that’s something to take very seriously. You have the power to protect victims by requesting a bond increase when the defendant picks up a new case. You have power to protect society when a defendant who shot someone is asking for probation & you ask for jail time. You ALSO have the power to dismiss cases that are not good cases AND you have the power to realize defendants ARE humans too. You have the power to give second chances. 3. Litigation. Preliminary hearings, trials, motions, juries, etc. If you like putting together arguments and public speaking, that aspect is really great. 4. Creating stories/writing. On the same hand as litigation, you should be able to write eloquent arguments, stories, etc. 5. Investigation aspects are exciting. 6. Giving a victim their day in court.

Are Public Prosecutors happy? This is highly controversial as it is highly subjective and situational along with the political situation in India.

Should I become a Public Prosecutor?

That being said, if you are someone who wants to serve the people by fighting for their justice, someone who believes that truth shall always prevail and who wants to protect the interests of the people. Good communications skills, strong logical and analytical skills, an eye for detail and confidence are some of the qualities required in this profession. So, if you have already decided to opt for this profession, you can start working on them to make them even better.


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