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Career as a Public Prosecutor

Career as a Public Prosecutor

A Public Prosecutor, abbreviated as PP is an advocate who signifies the state or the people of the state in a criminal trial. The present criminal justice system of Indian state is based on belief that any crime committed by person or groups against others are believed to have been committed against the society. The prosecution and reprimand for the crime is the responsibility of the state and not that victim of crime. Such prosecution, on behalf of state is done by the Public Prosecutor. A Public Prosecutor can be defined as a Minister of Justice who plays a critical role in maintaining purity and impartiality in the area of administration of criminal justice.

Prosecutors are associated either to the civil law inquisitorial system or the common law adversarial system. The legal parties who are responsible for presenting a criminal case against an individual who is suspected to have broken the law are called as the prosecution

Public Prosecutors are part of the judicial procedure and are considered to be officers of the Court. They are in charge of the trial, appeal and other processes in Court. Major task of a public prosecutor is to assist the court by placing before the court all pertinent aspects of the case. They have to deal with different fields in the administration of justice. The role of the public prosecutor begins once the investigation agency has filed the charge sheet in the court on the culmination of investigation. The Public Prosecutor does not direct police investigations, nor does he advise the police. They have to be independent of the executive and all external influences. Their responsibility is to present to the courtaexactly formulated case for the crown against the accused and to call evidence in support of it. The Public Prosecutorsignifies the state in trial of criminal cases. The object of criminal trial is to discover the truth and determine guilt or innocence of the suspect. The prosecutor has a vital role in reaching conclusion of guilt or innocence by the court. He has to be fair to both sides in the prosecution of the case.

Appointment of a Public Prosecutor is done by every High Court by the central government or state government under the provisions of Section 24 of the CrPC 1973 for conducting any prosecution, appeal or proceedings in the Court. For every district, the State Government shall appoint a Public Prosecutor and may also appoint one or more Assistant Public Prosecutors for the district. Assistant Public Prosecutors are those who provide assistance to the Public Prosecutor on legal matters, like collection of evidence, collection of complete details regarding the case, etc. They also prepare court documents on behalf of the Public Prosecutor.


Candidates interested in making career as a public prosecutor, must generally obtain a law degree, become approved to practice law in their jurisdiction and find and apply for an opening. In some cases, they also must meet experience requirements and may have to undergo criminal background or other investigations. Specific requirements vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so you should carefully investigate those of the jurisdiction for which they wish to work.

A person to be appointed as a Public Prosecutor or Assistant Public Prosecutor must have been in practice as an advocate for at least seven years, for the purpose of the appointment of Public Prosecutor or Additional Public Prosecutor. He/she must have been a practice as an advocate for not less than ten years for the appointment of a Special Public Prosecutor

To become a Public Prosecutor

  • Applicants who wish to become public prosecutors must appear for the examination that is set by the Union Public Service commission (UPSC). The written test is followed by an interview. The selected candidates will be notified through mail.
  • A person shall only be eligible to be appointed as a Public Prosecutor if he/ she is a citizen of India
  • Person must practice as an Advocate for a period of not less than seven years.
  • Candidates must be not less than 35 years and not more than 45 years of age at the time of applying (The maximum age limit of the candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes shall be may be fixed by the Government from time to time.)

Moreover, the District Magistrate in consultation with the Sessions Judge shall prepare a panel of names of persons who are fit to be appointed as the Public Prosecutor for the district. No person shall be appointed by the State Government as the Public Prosecutor for the district unless their name appears on the panel of names prepared by the District Magistrate under sub-section (3). The Public Prosecutors appointed from among Asst. Public Prosecutors can benefit by interacting with the Public Prosecutors appointed from the Bar in consultation with the Sessions Judge and vice-versa.

The Code of Criminal Procedure does not describe about the renewal or extension of the term public prosecutor. They are chosen for a term fixed by the government.

The Central Government or the State Government may also appoint an advocate who has been in practice for not less than ten years as Special Public Prosecutor, for the purposes of any case or class of cases.

Assistant Public Prosecutor

An Assistant public prosecutor is appointed under Section 25 of the CrPC in every district for conducting prosecution in the courts of magistrate. Candidates who hold Law degrees and have two years’ experience at any state bar council and not more than 35 years of age can apply for the post of Assistant public prosecutor. The selection shall be made on the basis of departmental written and viva examination conducted by the respective State Public Service Commission. The written examination will include questions from criminal law, procedural law, general English and miscellaneous laws. Assistant public prosecutor by direct appointment shall remain on probation for a period of two years and those enlisted otherwise shall remain for a period of one year as may be ordered by the competent authority.

Categorisation of the Public Prosecutors

  • Public Prosecutors appointed by the Central Government,
  • Public Prosecutors appointed by the State Government,
  • Public Prosecutors,
  • Additional Public Prosecutors, appointed by the State Government,
  • Special Public Prosecutors appointed by the Central Government,
  • Special Public Prosecutors, appointed by the State Government,
  • Assistant Public Prosecutors. (Section 25)

Roles and responsibilities of public prosecutors

Public Prosecutor have responsibilities to the State, to the accused and to the Court. Their major tasks are involved inside the criminal courts. Key responsibility of a Public Prosecutor includes:
  • Representing state in sessions cases and lending advice to officers in districts in all legal matters, when called for
  • Studying records of cases sent to Sessions Court by Trial Magistrate and guaranteeing against omission and irregularities, which might vitiate proceedings in court
  • Presenting evidence, conducting cross-examination and arguing case for prosecution
  • Appearing and pleading on behalf of prosecution in all appeal cases, application for reduction of sentences, etc.
  • Advising Government Officers in district regarding any civil or criminal proceedings and matters concerning Government interests
  • Allotting legal work to Assistant Public Prosecutors
  • Appearing for Government in civil and revenue cases, if designated as Government Pleader
  • Advising Government to withdraw prosecution in appropriate case
  • conducting pre-trial investigation in civil and criminal case
  • supervising implementation of penalties
  • protecting rights and lawful interests of persons and the State in accordance with procedures established by law
  • submitting claims and applications to courts in cases as required by law.

It can be established that major job of a Public Prosecutor is to initiate and conduct criminal prosecution on behalf of the State. A public prosecutor should discharge their duties honestly and courageously and with full sense of responsibility that ascribes to their position. They should present before the court all the significant facts of the case, witnesses and evidence to allow the court to decide the case. They should act according to the directions of the judge and assist the Court in reaching a proper conclusion in regard to the case, which is brought in for trial. When the accused appears or is brought before the court in enactment of a commitment of the case under section 209, the prosecutor shall open his case by describing the charge brought against the accused and stating by what evidence he proposes to prove the guilt of the accused. The job responsibilities of public prosecutor differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction; however all the prosecutors work essentially for the same mission. They deal with the cases with highest level of importance and appears mainly in the High Court and also in Sessions Courts. Public Prosecutor can take out from the prosecution with the consent of the Court at any time before the judgment.

Major Skills of Public Prosecutor

  • Thorough knowledge of the laws of the country
  • Skilled in studying cases thoroughly
  • Trained in arranging for evidence and witnesses for the case
  • Knowledge of all the legal notices that may be issued against a government organisation
  • Ability to advice the government on hearing of cases.
  • Some personality traits are needed to become a public prosecutor such as:
  • Hardworking
  • Focused
  • Persistent
  • Good communication skill
  • Persuasive

Pay Scale

In India, Pay scale for the position Public Prosecutor varies according to their jurisdiction. These government employees are entitled to receive pay scales as prescribed by the government and also receives incentives and other allowances. Public prosecutors are also sometimes paid on consolidate pay basis (a fixed salary without any perks or allowances). Public Prosecutors working in the central bureau of investigation can get a consolidated pay scale.

Career Opportunities for Prosecutor

For the new attorney determined to become a Prosecutor, there is great possibility of securing a position. There are huge of prosecutor positions in India. Although prior trial experience is often required, entry level positions may also be available to new attorneys who have offered their services or gained experience through work as an intern while attending law school. Prosecutors with experience at the state level may desire to move into prosecution at the federal level. Other possible career opportunities are joining a private law firm, working for a corporation, or looking for a judgeship. In brief, Public Prosecutor is any responsible person appointed under Section 24 and includes any person acting under the directions of a Public Prosecutor.