Karnataka HC Quashes State's POCSO Special Prosecutor Plan

Author : Nimisha Nayak

Updated On : May 30, 2024

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Bengaluru: In a landmark decision, the Karnataka High Court recently struck down the state government's choice to appoint Public Prosecutors as Special Public Prosecutors (SPPs) for handling cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The ruling, passed by Justice N Sanjay, mandated that the state authorities must appoint new SPPs within the next three months, adhering strictly to the guidelines specified in the POCSO Act.

This verdict emerged following a series of petitions filed by several advocates previously engaged on a contractual basis as Special Public Prosecutors in POCSO matters. These petitions were a direct response to a notification issued in November 2022, which allowed for the appointment of regular Public Prosecutors to Special courts handling POCSO cases. The advocates contended that this move contravened existing legal frameworks.

Facing these allegations, the state defended its decision, citing its authority under the POCSO Act to make such appointments. They argued against the regularization of contract-based appointments, stating that such demands were untenable.

However, Justice Gowda, after careful deliberation of both perspectives, highlighted the critical distinctions between the appointment procedures of SPPs under the POCSO Act and that of Public Prosecutors under the Criminal Procedure Code. He pointed out that, as per Section 32 of the POCSO Act, it is compulsory for the state government to specifically nominate SPPs for special courts, and these SPPs are limited to handling cases falling within the POCSO Act’s purview. Consequently, the court invalidated the state government's decision to appoint regular Public Prosecutors as SPPs.

Moreover, the court identified and emphasized procedural discrepancies in the appointments, asserting that the existing approach did not conform to the stipulated legal procedures. It was underlined that allowing the petitioners to continue functioning as SPPs would be in violation of the principles established by the Supreme Court.

In conclusion, the High Court issued an interim directive, stating that those currently serving as SPPs would continue in their roles until new appointments are finalized. This decision marks a significant step in ensuring the proper implementation of the POCSO Act, reinforcing the legal framework intended to protect children from sexual offences.

Karnataka HC Quashes State's POCSO Special Prosecutor Plan

Author : Nimisha Nayak

May 30, 2024

SHARE

Bengaluru: In a landmark decision, the Karnataka High Court recently struck down the state government's choice to appoint Public Prosecutors as Special Public Prosecutors (SPPs) for handling cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The ruling, passed by Justice N Sanjay, mandated that the state authorities must appoint new SPPs within the next three months, adhering strictly to the guidelines specified in the POCSO Act.

This verdict emerged following a series of petitions filed by several advocates previously engaged on a contractual basis as Special Public Prosecutors in POCSO matters. These petitions were a direct response to a notification issued in November 2022, which allowed for the appointment of regular Public Prosecutors to Special courts handling POCSO cases. The advocates contended that this move contravened existing legal frameworks.

Facing these allegations, the state defended its decision, citing its authority under the POCSO Act to make such appointments. They argued against the regularization of contract-based appointments, stating that such demands were untenable.

However, Justice Gowda, after careful deliberation of both perspectives, highlighted the critical distinctions between the appointment procedures of SPPs under the POCSO Act and that of Public Prosecutors under the Criminal Procedure Code. He pointed out that, as per Section 32 of the POCSO Act, it is compulsory for the state government to specifically nominate SPPs for special courts, and these SPPs are limited to handling cases falling within the POCSO Act’s purview. Consequently, the court invalidated the state government's decision to appoint regular Public Prosecutors as SPPs.

Moreover, the court identified and emphasized procedural discrepancies in the appointments, asserting that the existing approach did not conform to the stipulated legal procedures. It was underlined that allowing the petitioners to continue functioning as SPPs would be in violation of the principles established by the Supreme Court.

In conclusion, the High Court issued an interim directive, stating that those currently serving as SPPs would continue in their roles until new appointments are finalized. This decision marks a significant step in ensuring the proper implementation of the POCSO Act, reinforcing the legal framework intended to protect children from sexual offences.

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