If public prosecutors participate in pen-down strike, then they must be removed from their posts: Calcutta High Court

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The Calcutta High Court on Monday warned of strict action against additional public prosecutors (APP)/ public prosecutors (PPs) who were participating in strikes and restraining litigants, clerks and lawyers from appearing in court [Shibshankar Mahato v State]
A bench of acting Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya said that public prosecutors and APPs cannot resort to strikes and any person doing so will have to be removed from their posts.

“If a PP participates in a pen-down then he must be removed from his post. Please advice your (to counsels) clients accordingly, some adverse orders will come then nobody can save them. He has taken an oath of office after he became a lawyer. He owes a duty to the State…you don’t have a vested right, you are working as APP/PP based on government orders,” Court observed.

The Court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by one Shibshankar Mahato claiming that proceedings before the sessions court under the jurisdiction of the District and Sessions Judge, Purba Bardhaman continue to remain hampered since March 24 after APPs called for an indefinite strike seeking the removal of the PP for the district court.

During the hearing today, the State counsel submitted the action taken report as directed by Court in previous hearing.

Further, the State counsel also requested, if matter could be taken up after two days. The Court allowed the request and posted the case for further consideration on April 26.

On March 28, the APPs had asked the PP not to conduct matters before the court. However, the PP refused to do so, resulting in a violent fight among the lawyers.

The district magistrate refused to remove the PP even after the Burdwan Bar Association addressed a representation to him.

Owing to the strike, the right to free and fair administration of justice has fallen prey to the personal interests of officers of the court, the petitioner stated.

The plea stated that the Burdwan Bar Association called for a meeting to address the issues of its members regarding the fact that innocent litigants are languishing in jail or police custody since no bail or trial hearings are being conducted in any of the sessions courts. However, the meeting yielded nothing fruitful.

“The common litigants same as the petitioner without any fault of their own have been victims of unwanted circumstances and their matters are going unrepresented in the Court of law,” the petition said.

The petitioner thus prayed for directions to restore the normal functioning of the courts. He also sought the constitution of a fact-finding committee to identify the source of the dispute.

Advocate Ahana Ghosh Mandal represented petitioner.

Advocate Anirban Roy represented State.

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