Free Press Journal

Resolution on making public servants witnesses irks teachers


Mumbai: A Maharashtra government decision to make public servants witnesses in any crime that warrants provision of more than seven years of jail term, has caused disquiet among teachers in state-run schools. In a bid to improve conviction rate, the state had issued a Government Resolution (GR) in May this year, which stated that public servants would be made witnesses in the investigation and hearing of any case of crime in which imprisonment is seven years and above.

The decision was also meant to ensure that witnesses do not turn hostile and are able to regularly remain present in court for hearings. According to the Government Resolution, the state employee residing in a particular area, where the case will come up for hearing, will be made a witness in the case.

“The GR has caused resentment among teachers and they want exemption. Not all teachers are government employees, while teachers in Zilla Parishad (ZP) schools are semi-government employees. We will issue a clarification in this regard soon,” Principal Secretary (Home) Vijay Satbir Singh told PTI.

The issue of low conviction rate was discussed in the Cabinet and a high-level committee was set up to study what could be done to improve the rate of conviction, he added. “The conviction rate in Maharashtra has gone up to 35 per cent. It was about nine to ten per cent till a year ago. This is a huge achievement of the present government,” Singh said.

An important aspect to ensure good conviction rate was making prosecutors more responsible, the official said adding that for this reason, the government brought public prosecutors under Directorate of Prosecution and decided to give them regular training and refresher courses so that they are motivated and trained properly.

“Their performances would be judged on the basis of their success rates. Their licence to practice would not be renewed if their success rate is less than 25 per cent,” he said.