India gets first witness protection scheme

India gets first witness protection scheme

News

The Supreme Court has approved Witness Protection Scheme and asked the states to enforce it

Important Facts

1. Aim of the scheme:  to enable a witness to depose fearlessly and truthfully by providing appropriate protection from the state

2. The programme identifies “three categories of witnesses as per threat perception”:

  • Category A: Those cases where threat extends to life of witness or family members during investigation, trial or even thereafter.
  • Category B: Those cases where the threat extends to safety, reputation or property of the witness or family members during the investigation or trial
  • Category C: Cases where the threat is moderate and extends to harassment or intimidation of the witness or his family members, reputation or property during the investigation, trial or thereafter.

3. The expenses for the programme will be met from a Witness Protection Fund to be established by states and Union Territories

4. The scheme would serve as the ‘law’ under Article 141/142 of the Constitution, until suitable Parliamentary and/or State Legislations on the subject is enacted

Note:

  • Article 141 states that the decision of the supreme court would be binding upon other courts in India
  • Article 142: It deals with Enforcement of decrees and orders of Supreme Court and unless as to discovery, etc.It states that the Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it
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