The Supreme Court has held that although the aggrieved person can recruit a private lawyer in the case to assist the prosecution, such a lawyer cannot be empowered to verbally plead or test and examine witnesses.

Private Counsel Engaged By Victim To Assist Public Prosecutor only: Supreme Court

Justice Mohan M. A bench of Shantanagoudar and Justice Deepak Gupta rejected the application made by the victim in a criminal case upholding the judgment of the Calcutta High Court. In this application, the Public Prosecutor asked his lawyer for permission to cross-examine his witness.

The Court stated that the victim's attorney has a limited right to assist the prosecution, which may extend to the court or the prosecution to suggest questions, but cannot ask them themselves. 

In Rekha Murarka v. State of West Bengal, the bench dismissed the contention raised in the case citing relevant provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (CRPC) that the proviso to section 24 (8) "under this sub-section" The use of the words implies that any lawyer on behalf of the victim can be for the assistance of the Special Public Prosecutor only. It said that there is no justification for applying the provision in respect of special public prosecutors only.

The court stated, 

"Such an interpretation would go against Section 301 (2), which makes the petitioner subject to the instructions of a private lawyer by a public prosecutor or assistant public prosecutor. In our view, to make them fully effective , Yeh. ”The provisions should be read in a harmonious manner. 

The argument of the appellant was that the role of such private counsel should not be limited to filing written arguments only, as the petitioners claimed under section 301 (2) by private parties. To give oral arguments and to examine the witnesses Should expand.

The court said that allowing the victim's lawyer to give oral arguments and cross-examine witnesses is beyond a supporting role and constitutes a parallel prosecution. The bench said that it is clear from Section 225 and Section 301 (2) given to the Public Prosecutor in the conduct of the trial that allowing such free hand would be against the scheme envisaged under the CrPC.

It was observed,

"As stated in Section 301 (2), the plea of ​​the private party is subject to the directions of the Public Prosecutor. In our view, the same principle applies to the victim's counsel under the provision of Section 24. . (8). Because it adequately ensures that the interests of the victim are represented. alert-warning

If the victim's attorney feels that a certain aspect is underdeveloped in the trial of witnesses or arguments made by the government attorney, then He can ask any question. It is a self-governing advocate. It will not only maintain the paramount position of public prosecutor under the scheme of CRPC, but will also ensure that there is no in-between cases advanced by the public prosecutor and the victim's advocate There should not be inconsistencies. 

While upholding the order of the High Court, the bench further said, 

"Even if there is a situation where the public prosecutor fails to highlight some issue of importance despite being suggested by the victim's lawyer, then The victim still cannot be advocated by the court. Uncontrolled right to give oral arguments or to examine witnesses. 

In such cases he can still put his question or argument through the first judge, for example, if the victim's Counsel found that the public prosecutor did not properly examine any witnesses and was not included in the suggestions, that he could bring these questions to the court's attention. If judges see merit in these questions, then He can bring

Section 311 or take action accordingly by applying his powers under Indian Section 11. Evidence Act, 1872. alert-info

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