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East Garo Hills DC under HC glare

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  19 Aug 2017 12:00 AM GMT

From A Correspondent

Shillong, Aug 18: The Meghalaya High Court on Friday heard a suo motu petition relating to the appointment of independent Public Prosecutors under Section 32 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act).

During the hearing, the high court stated it has noticed that several issues are required to be attended to so as to ensure effective proceedings under POCSO Act.

At the hearing, the Meghalaya High Court not only expressed its dissatisfaction but also its serious reservations when the East Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner (DC) stated that the matter of his bypassing the District & Sessions Judge while making recommendation for appointment of Special Public Prosecutor was only that of “impropriety” and was now “irrelevant?.

According to the high court, the DC in his letter on 31st July 2017 has avoided to state the clarification about want of consultation and even gone to the extent of suggesting that the Law Department having notified the appointment of another advocate as a new Special Public Prosecutor on July 18 the so called “impropriety in the recommendation” was “irrelevant”.

“Prima facie, we find the response from the Deputy Commissioner, East Garo Hills District, Williamgar in his letter dated 31.07.2017 quite intriguing,” the high court stated.

The court also said that it appears that the Law Secretary of the State government, while seeking clarification from the DC, even endorsed a copy of the high court’s order of July 19, wherein it found the approach of the District Magistrate in making recommendations without consultation with the District & Sessions Judge to be seriously questioble.

“The aforesaid response dated 31.07.2017 from the Deputy Commissioner has, prima facie, given an impression of a seriously questioble approach where even the observations made by this Court in the order dated 19.07.2017 were sought to be ignored,” the high court observed.

The high court said that on 24th July, the Secretary, Law Department sought clarification from the concerned Deputy Commissioner as to why the provisions of law stipulated under Section 24 (4) of the Code of Crimil Procedure were not followed.

Again, the state Chief Secretary had on August 10 issued specific instructions to all the DCs, calling upon them to comply with the requirements of the law while, inter alia, ensuring consultation with the District and Sessions Judge in writing for the purpose under Section 24 (4) of the CrPC and while ensuring the eligibility of the advocates concerned.

It may be mentioned that the East Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner while making recommendation for appointment of a Special Prosecutor under the POCSO Act did not consult the District & Sessions Judge, Williamgar.

The recommendation could not be considered since the lawyer has not completed seven years of practice as mandated.

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