Protection of witnesses

TNN Bureau. Updated: 12/30/2021 12:19:17 PM Edit and Opinion

To meet the expenses of the “witness protection scheme”-2018, Jammu and Kashmir administration has recently created a corpus fund to be known as the “witness protection fund”. In an order issued, the Jammu and Kashmir Home Department has directed creation of the “witness protection fund” for meeting expenses incurred on the implementation of the “witness protection order(s) passed by the competent authority and related expenditure. The first ever reference to Witness Protection came to fore in 14th Report of Law Commission of India in 1958. The 4th National Police Commission Report 1980 also observed “Prosecution witnesses turn hostile because of pressure from the accused and there is need of regulation to check manipulation of witnesses”. The funds are to be used for the installation of the security devices in the house of witness, escort to and from the court and provision of government vehicles or state funded conveyance for the date of hearing, close protection and regular patrolling around the witness’s house, temporary change of house of the witness to conceal his identity. During the course of investigation or trial of any offence an application seeking identity protection can be filled in the prescribed form before the Competent Authority through its member secretary. Upon receipt of the application, the Member Secretary of the Competent Authority shall call for Threat Analyst Report. The Competent Authority shall examine the witness. Once the Competent Authority pass the order of protection of identity of the witness, it shall be the responsibility of the Witness Protection Cell to ensure the protection of the identity of the witness. The move comes after the J&K government ordered that the witness protection scheme shall be deemed come into force in UT from December 5, 2018. The fund shall be operated by the director general of police, who shall also initiate proceedings for recovery of the expenditure incurred from the witness protection fund in cases of false complaint(s), the order states. The scheme identifies a series of measures to be adopted to safeguard witnesses and their family members from intimidation and threats against their lives, reputation and property.

Comment on this Story