Delhi Witness Protection Scheme

From Indpaedia
Revision as of 12:40, 22 December 2018 by Jyoti Sharma (Jyoti) (Talk | contribs)

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search

Hindi English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish

This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.

HC's May 2013 verdict

The Times of India, Jul 31 2015

Abhinav Garg

HC issued 1st guidelines on Neelam Katara plea

A history of botched investigations owing to hostile witnesses in the Jessica Lal, Priyadarshini Mattoo and Nitish Katara murder cases compelled the Delhi high court in 2013 to order that a witness protection policy must be framed for Delhi. In its May 2013 verdict, HC had ordered prosecution of Bollywood actor Shyan Munshi and ballistic expert P S Manocha for lying on oath during the Jessica Lal trial. It took note of the manner in which Munshi and other witnesses turned hostile and charged them with “perjury“.

A bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and G P Mittal had said witnesses are “bulwarks“ in a criminal case and they should not be allowed to come under pressure of the accused as has been seen “in case after case.“ Noting that it was the duty of the government to provide adequate protection to witnesses, the court had referred to cases which suffered due to hostile witnesses.

“The perception of such power being wielded liberally and without compunction to harass, intimidate or often win over witnesses is wide spread. There is no gainsaying that such a perception is borne out in case after case, when witnesses who are considered bulwarks of the prosecution version turn turtle and do not support the state,“ the court had observed, asking the Delhi government to start a witness protection programme till the enactment of a specific law in the country.

Though the court had initially granted a time of just 10 weeks to the government, the lack of an elected regime in Delhi led to the protection plan getting held up.

Since 2003, when a petition by Neelam Katara that her son's killers were threatening key witnesses was filed, the high court has been grappling with this issue.On Neelam's plea, the court had issued the first guidelines, some of which find mention in the latest scheme. The court had made member-secretary , Delhi Legal Services Authority , the nodal officer who could be approached for protection of witnesses who were to depose in cases in volving the death sentence or life imprisonment.

The officer, while deciding to grant protection to a witness, had to take into account the nature of the threat to the witness, nature of investigation and value of his testimony .

That guidelines remained on paper was best reflected in 2006 when the high court redflagged the issue once again while delivering its verdict in the Jessica Lal murder case.Shocked that 31 witnesses turned hostile, a bench of Justices R S Sodhi and P K Bhasin took suo motu cognizance of the problem and issued them summons to explain why their testimonies got changed completely during the trial.


The Times of India, Jul 31 2015

Delhi Witness Protection Scheme; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, Jul 31 2015

Delhi scores a first in protecting witnesses

Risha Chitlangia & Neha Lalchandani

Acting on 2013 HC order, state notifies scheme with cell under police

Delhi has become the first state in the country to announce a scheme for witness protection. The state government notified the Delhi Witness Protection Scheme, 2015. This was in pursuance of a 2013 Delhi high court order. The government will make budgetary provisions in its annual budget for implementation of the scheme. The policy follows directions of the high court which, in the Jessica Lal and Nitish Katara murder cases, had asked the government to frame such a policy . “We are the first state to have such a policy . The government is committed to acting upon more such court directions,“ said home minister Satyendar Jain.

Witnesses under three categories will be provided protection, depending on the threat perception. “The categories have been draw up based on type of threat and duration for which the protection has to be given. For instance, if there is a threat to life and it affects the day-today activities of a witness for a substantial period during the investigation or even after that, then the person will be in the `A' category,“ said an official.

Officials say the government has appointed Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) as the competent authority for implementation of the scheme. All decisions and reviews will be under the purview of DSLSA.The witness has to apply for protection following which DSLSA will seek a threat analysis report from Delhi Police. “The decision to give protection or not, the category and type of protection will be decided accordingly . The report will be prepared by an ACPDCP level officer of the district investigating the case. It will have to be submitted to the authority within ive working days of receipt of the order,“ said a senior of icial. All hearings of applications will be held in-camera and full confidentially will be maintained. The witness will have the option of applying for concealment of identity.

The government will provide different types of protec tion, depending on the sensitivity of the case and threat perception. It has identified 15 ways of providing protection, varying from monitoring calls and mails to temporary change of residence.

Sources say orders passed by the competent authority will be implemented by the Witness Protection Cell (WPC), which will be under Delhi Police. The WPC will have to file a monthly followup report on each case. There is a provision using which the identity and location of the witness can be changed.These orders will be implemented by the divisional commissioner. It will be mandatory for the investigating officer and court to inform all witnesses that such provisions exist.

Under the scheme, witnesses will be given financial aid or grant from a witness protection fund following the orders of the DSLSA.

See also

Delhi Witness Protection Scheme

Witness protection: India

Personal tools