What are the Functions of Public Prosecutors in India?

Section 24 of the Code of Criminal Procedures provides that, for every High Court, the Central or the State Government shall appoint Public Prosecutors, after consulting the High Court. Likewise, one or more Additional Public Prosecutors may also be appointed. The function of such Prosecutors is to conduct, in that High Court, any prosecution, appeal or other proceeding on behalf of the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be.

Similarly, the Central Government may appoint one or more Public Prosecutors for conducting any case or class of cases in any district or local area.

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For every district, a Public Prosecutor is to be appointed by the State Government. It may also appoint one or more Additional Public Prosecutors for any district.

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For this purpose, the District Magistrate has to prepare a Panel of names who are, in his opinion, fit to be appointed as Public Prosecutors, or Additional Public Prosecutors, for that district. This list is to be prepared in consultation with the Sessions Judge, and no person can be appointed to this post unless his name appears on the panel. If, however, in any State, there is a regular cadre of Prosecuting Officers, then a Prosecutor can be appointed only from amongst the persons constituting such cadre.

To be eligible to be appointed as a Public Prosecutor or an Additional Public Prosecutor, the person must have been in practice as an Advocate for at least seven years. An Advocate with ten years practice or more can also be appointed as a Special Public Prosecutor.

Assistant Prosecutors:

Section 25 provides that the State Government must appoint, in every district, one or more Assistant Public Prosecutors, for conducting prosecutions in the Magistrates’ Courts.


Normally, no Police Officer is eligible for being appointed to this post. However, if no Assistant Public Prosecutor is available for any particular case, the District Magistrate can appoint any other person to be the Assistant Public Prosecutor for that particular case. But even in such a case, a Police Officer cannot be so appointed —

(i) If he has taken any part in the investigation of that particular case; or

(ii) If he is below the rank of an Inspector.

It is also provided that Assistant Public Prosecutors for Magistrate’s Court may also be appointed by the Central Government for the purpose of conducting any case or class of cases.

Directorate of Prosecution:


S. 25-A (Inserted by the code of criminal procedure (Amendment) Act, 2005) empowers the State Government to establish a Directorate of Prosecution, consisting of a Director of Prosecution and as many Deputy Directors of Prosecution as it thinks fit. A person is eligible to be appointed for these posts if he has been in practice as an Advocate for not less than ten years. These appointments are to be made in concurrence with the Chief Justice of the High Court.

The Head of the Directorate of Prosecution is the Director of Prosecution, who functions under the administrative control of the Head of the Home Department in the State. It is also provided that every Public Prosecutor, Additional Public Prosecutor and Special Public Prosecutor appointed by the State Government to conduct cases in the High Court shall be subordinate to the Director of Prosecution.

S. 25-A further provides that the powers and functions of the Director of Prosecution and the Deputy Directors of Prosecution and the areas for which each Deputy Director of Prosecution is appointed shall be such as the State Government may, by notification, specify.

The provisions of S. 25-A are, however, not to apply to the Advocate- General for the State when he performs the functions of a public Prosecutor.


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