Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Protect witnesses facing threats: SC

The Supreme Court on 4/12/18 directed state governments to provide round the-clock police protection to witnesses who face threats for deposing against those accused in heinous criminal cases and ordered that their identity is concealed during the investigation and trial.
A bench of Justices A K Sikri and S Abdul Nazeer said the criminal justice system in this country has been witnessing “traumatic experience” and “sordid phenomena” where witnesses turn hostile resulting in the acquittal of accused in heinous offences and that they (witnesses) must be protected to ensure justice. The court’s order came as it approved the witness protection scheme framed by the Centre in consultation with the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) and Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) and directed all states to implement it till Parliament comes out with a legislation.
As per the scheme, a police escort will be provided to witnesses who are threatened and, if needed, they would be relocated to a safe house. The scheme also says emails and phone calls of the witnesses would be monitored to trace the person threatening them. It said a separate witness protection fund will be created in each state to meet the expenses incurred under the scheme.

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