Drishti Judiciary : Prosecution Officer
Welcome to Drishti Judiciary - Powered by Drishti IAS

Prosecution Officer

  • Those who have an inclination towards litigation and also seek a government job can opt for a career as a Prosecution Officer and work as an APP – Assistant Public Prosecutor.
  • The nomenclature for APP changes from state to state and the post is also known as ADPO - Assistant District Prosecution Officers, ADA – Assistant District Attorney.
  • The Prosecution Officer is responsible for handling day-to-day cases on behalf of the government.
  • A crime is an offence against the public and hence the state represents the victim in a criminal trial.
  • The work of the APP is to make the ends of justice meet by working in the interest of public/society.
  • Working as a Prosecution Officer can be a rewarding career choice in terms of satisfaction as one works directly for the benefit of the public/society and remains in close association with law throughout one's career.

Why Choose a Prosecution Officer as a Career?
  • An entry level exam for the services is a State Level Exam. Almost all cases, whether Criminal or Civil, are tried by either the Lower Courts or by the Session Courts, barring a few exceptions.
  • This method of Direct Recruitment for a fresh graduate as a Prosecution Officer aids him in analyzing and addressing the problems at the grass root level.
  • An appointment to the post of Assistant Public Prosecutor not only gives one an early exposure to criminal litigation in a wide variety of matters but is also coupled with Security of job. One can also apply for Higher Judicial Services after 7 years of practice.

About the Examination Process

In order to get selected as APP one must compete in a state level competitive exam. Depending upon the state one opts for, the exam involves either 2 stages or 3 stages. Where the exam involves two stages, there is no mains examination. The stages are namely:

  1. Preliminary Examination (Objective Type)
  2. Mains Examination (Subjective Type)
  3. Interview

  • The qualifications to participate in the direct recruitment process for Assistant Public Prosecutor are as follows:
  • Candidate must be a Citizen of India.
  • Candidate must have a Bachelor of Law (Professional) of a recognized University and should have enrolled as an advocate with Bar Council. Some states require legal practice for a specific number of years as on the date mentioned by the notification.
  • Age : The age limit varies from state to state, prescribed maximum age limit is 30 years as on date specified in the notification in Delhi whereas in Haryana it is 42 years. Age relaxation is provided for various categories (SC/ST/OBC/EWS/PwD etc.) and it varies from state to state as well.

Plan of Examination

The syllabus for the APP exam varies from state-to-state although core law subjects like Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, Indian Evidence Act, Civil Procedure Code, Indian Contract Act etc. form part of syllabus of almost all states. The stage wise bifurcation is as follows:

  • This stage consists of multiple-choice questions based on Preliminary Examination. The majority of the states have a single Objective Type Paper Consisting of Law, General Awareness, Language.
  • The primary focus is on factual information based on bare provisions, amendments, case laws, maxims etc.


Key to crack preliminary exam involves exhaustive study on following:

  • Bare Act Provisions and the respective amendments if any.
  • Brief idea about Landmark/Recent Case Laws.
  • Analysis of key concepts.
  • Where General Knowledge forms part of the syllabus one must pay attention to the topics included in the exam notification.
  • One must practice previous year question papers.

  • This stage consists of a written exam called the Mains Exam. The basic idea of this stage is to check the in-depth knowledge of the candidate.
  • The number of papers under this stage vary from state to state but broad categorization can be made as follows:
    • Criminal Law
    • Civil Law
    • Local Laws of the state
    • General Knowledge / General Awareness (In some Specific States)
    • Language


The mains exam focuses on one’s understanding of the subject and questions aim to check factual as well as practical knowledge of a person. The key to crack mains exam lies in sound answer writing skills. One needs to practice questions in order to write short, concise answers withing the time limit. Focus must be on:

  • Understanding the law and its bare provisions. Reading ‘To The Point’ material on various topics would not only help in thorough understanding but also in timely revision.
  • Case Laws are an inseparable part of a good answer, and one must read ‘Case Briefs’ on Landmark, Recent Judgements.
  • Revising key concepts before exams would help in better retention of subject matter.
  • For the Language Part, Legal Translation is as important as Grammar or Essay Writing. Practice is the key here and one must try to improve legal vocabulary. Referring to a ‘Legal Glossary’ can play a pivotal role in this regard.
  • One must practice previous year question papers.

  • The final stage of the recruitment process is the Interview also known as the Viva-Voce. It aims to assess the general suitability of the candidate for the post.
  • Some states attach a specified qualifying percentage to this stage in order to get selected.
  • The Interview Board consists of hon'ble’ High Court judges where recruitment process is conducted by the High Court whereas when it is conducted by the Public Service Commission, panel members include officials from the respective State Commission.

  • Interview is one such part where it is difficult to frame a go to strategy.
  • One must focus on the subject knowledge as well as other aspects of his/her personality in order to be suitable for the post they have applied for.