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There can be peace, if there is justice and justice if the courts and its officers are empowered, the Delhi High Court said today. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar made the observation while hearing two PILs seeking upward revision in the pay scales of prosecutors and for equipping them with facilities and infrastructure needed to do their job. "There can be peace, if there is justice, and justice if you empower the courts," the bench said after it was told that the prosecutors in district courts were paid even less than stenographers. The court was also unhappy with the fact the Centre had rejected the request made on behalf of the prosecutors to increase their pay-scale as per the Seventh Pay Commission. "Is this how the government is going to behave? Are you going to pay the prosecutors less than the stenographers," the bench asked. "Our view is that the first step is to empower the prosecutors as they handle the most serious crimes," it said and suggested sending someone to foreign nations to see how their prosecution system works. "You cannot throw prosecutors all around the district courts.
It is not fair," the court further said. When the Centre's lawyer, Meera Bhatia, said the government was willing to have a re-look at the issue, the bench said "You keep looking. People need money today, so what is the purpose of getting money after retirement." The Delhi government, represented by advocate Rahul Mehra, said it has provided laptops to the prosecutors who can retain the same after five years. He also said the Delhi government has provided dongles for internet and has asked the District Judges to identify some separate space for the prosecutors so that books and furniture can be placed there for them. However, with regard to e-libraries, the bench was told by the amicus curiae that the Delhi government allows subscriptions for these services for only a year at a time and the renewal process sometimes takes more than two years, leaving the prosecutors bereft of research material. Taking note of the submission, the court asked the Delhi government to explore the possibility of subscribing e- library services for more than a year. It also asked the city government to consider starting the renewal process preferably three months before expiry of the service. The bench asked the Delhi government and the Director of Prosecution to file their reports on the issue before the next date of hearing on May 19. The court had earlier asked how the government lawyers or prosecutors can be expected to perform efficiently if they are not paid properly and on time.