Monday, January 9, 2012

Govt’s reply on spl prosecutors’ appointment fails to satisfy Guj HC

The Gujarat high court on Monday expressed its dissatisfaction over the state government’s affidavit saying that the file about formation of policy to appoint special public prosecutors (SPPs) is not traceable.
The process to form a policy for appointing SPP in special cases was initiated following HC directive way back in 1971. The state government told the court that the file had gone missing and what happened to the process initiated later could not be known. The affidavit filed by the legal department also sought apology from HC for not following court directive.
However, justice M R Shah was not satisfied with the content of the affidavit and orally observed that the issue of framing policy has nothing to do with the file. It is up to the government to go ahead with formation of a policy as per HC directions. Dissatisfied with the content of the affidavit, Justice Shah asked the government to file another affidavit by Tuesday making it clear what time will it take to form the policy to govern appointments of distinguished lawyers in cases by paying special fees.
The issue came up before the court when senior counsel Prakash Thakkar filed a petition on behalf of one Madhabhai Asar questioning appointment of SPP in a murder case in Jamnagar. It was contended that SPP was appointed in the case as per provisions of criminal procedure code on payment of higher fees by the government because the complainant in the case had political clout.
Advocate Thakkar argued that other states have a policy in place governing appointment of SPPs, clearly setting guideline in which cases the government should make higher payment towards advocate’s fee. Though the high court had asked Gujarat government to come up with such apolicy four decades ago by fixing criteria to extend the facility of SPPs, no heed was paid to that. As a result, HC has asked the government to state what action was taken to implement the 1971 order. The affidavit filed on Monday failed to satisfy the court, and further proceeding will not be held on Tuesday.

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