The Madras High Court has reiterated that a Dalit victim of atrocity who wishes to have an eminent advocate appointed as a Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) can make a representation to the District Collector, who in turn must act on the representation and appoint the SPP.
Justice N Anand Venkatesh on noting that the law is well settled in this regard allowed a criminal original petition moved by A Ponni seeking to direct the Tiruvannamalai collector to appoint advocate D Kumar as SPP to conduct the case which is pending before the Special Court for an offence under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (SC/ST Act).
Ponni, who is the victim and defacto complainant in the case had submitted that she had made a representation to the Collector to appoint Kumar as SPP to conduct the case. The said advocate had also given his consent to act as the SPP by a letter on January 22, 2019. But since no action was taken, she had no choice but to the move the high court for appropriate di rections. Her counsel has submitted that pursuant to the rule making power provided under Section 23(1) of the SC/ ST Act, rule 4(5) specifically gives a right to the victim to get a SPP appointed for conducting the case of the prosecution. Based on this and relying on various judgements offered in this regard, which held that the advocate should be the choice of the victim of atrocity, Justice Anand Venkatesh directed the collector to engage the advocate as sought by the victim to conduct the prosecution in the special case pending before the Principal District and Sessions Judge, Tiruvannamalai, within two weeks.