The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Talapatra of Tripura High Court, in the case of Sri Bapi Dey v. the State of Tripura, examined the validity of an advertisement issued by the government for the post of Additional Public Prosecutor while an APP is in office.
Facts of the Case
The petitioner has challenged the advertisement issued by the District Magistrate and Collector for the post of Assistant Public Prosecutor. The writ of prohibition has been prayed to prohibit the respondents from including the post in the Courts of Judicial Magistrate. The petitioner has been holding the position of APP.
Arguments Made by the Parties
The petitioner asserted that the APPs in duty are discharging their duties, and there is no reason for replacement as the appointments were not tenure appointments. The advertisements under which such appointments were made had stated that the appointment would be perennial in nature. Therefore, there is no reason to unsettle the settled position. Resultantly, the subsequent advertisement has been issued illegally and arbitrarily. Citing the case of Union of India and another v. International Trading Co. and Another, the petitioners submitted that even making the change in policy by executive must be fair and reasonable to be in consonance with Article 14. Therefore, the respondents are liable to reveal the reasons for the change in policy.
The respondent contended that there is no term or tenure fixed under the law for the appointment of APP and it is the policy decision of the government, and hence, the post of the petitioner cannot claim a right of exclusion from the process of fresh appointment. Further, the counsel contended that the government felt the necessity of inducting meritorious advocates to the post to augment the efficiency of the criminal justice system.
Court’s Observation and Decision
The Government of Tripura has published detailed guidelines for appointment of APPs that provide provisions in respect of qualification, other eligibility criteria, and formation of selection criteria, assessment merit, and procedure. The scheme envisages the entire procedure to be followed by the selection committee and list forwarded to the Government, only if the government has tangible materials to conclude that such an appointment is not desirable can the government deviate from selection committee’s decision, otherwise, the government is obliged to make the appointment. The petitioner has failed to show that the advertisement in connection with his appointment had any representation that the appointment would be perennial.
Further, in the case of State of UP v. Johri Mal, the role of public prosecutors has been clearly emphasized as having a greater role in the administration of justice, management of prosecution, and increase the certainty of conviction for serious offenders. They represent the general public before the Court of law. The Court may interfere with an appointment if the holder of the public office is removed for reason dehors the statute. The policy formulated does not provide for tenure while the Legal Remembrancer’s Manual provides for a one-year tenure that can be modified by the State government. Further, it is necessary to ensure that meritorious and competent persons are appointed to the post.
Therefore, the petitioner cannot as a matter of right claim to continue in his position, the writ petition stands dissolved.
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