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Section 24 CrPC- “Can Advocates With Less Than 7 Yrs Of Practice Represent State In Criminal Cases?”: MP High Court Seeks State’s Response

The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Tuesday expressed serious concern on contractually appointed Panel Lawyers without the requisite 7 years of experience representing the State Government in important criminal matters like criminal appeals, suspension of sentences, bail applications, etc. The Bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Vijay Kumar Shukla questioned the State & Centre: “Whether a Panel Lawyer may appear in the Court before the High Court in criminal matters like Criminal Appeals, Bail Applications, Criminal Revisions, application for suspension of sentence, MCRCs, etc. even without having the practice of a minimum of seven years and without the consultation with the High Court as required under Section 24 (1) of Cr.P.C.?” The bench took exception to lawyers without requisite experience representing the State Government and Centre before the High Court and Lower Courts in criminal matters, contrary to eligibility stipulated under Section 24 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. The order came in a PIL filed by a Social Worker Gyan Prakash who alleged that without possessing the minimum statutory eligibility, the Advocate General office has authorized a large number of Junior Counsels to represent the State in important criminal matters.

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