Govt mulls amendments to criminal laws | india | Hindustan Times
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Govt mulls amendments to criminal laws

Shivraj Patil says a bill amending criminal laws is likely to be introduced in Parliament to make the legal process more efficient.

india Updated: Dec 19, 2006 13:37 IST

In the backdrop of concerns over witnesses turning hostile, government told the Lok Sabha on Tuesday that amendments were proposed to be made in criminal laws to ensure protection of witnesses.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil said a bill amending criminal laws was likely to be introduced in Parliament to make the legal process more efficient.

"We are marching to provide protection to witnesses," he said in a reply to questions.

The amendments are aimed at ensuring protection to witnesses and, if necessary, for a long period, he said.

Patil, however, said if protection were to be given to all witnesses, it would put enormous burden on the government.

In this regard, cooperation of states would be required, the Minister said.

Under the amendments, there will be a provision for recording of statements of witnesses by police on audio and visual tapes. Patil said adding recording of statements by magistrates will also be provided in the bill.

Maintaining that the government had taken a number of steps to make the legal process efficient and ensure fast disposal of cases, he said these measures included amendment to Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and other criminal laws like the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Evidence Act.

One of the measures put in place is the mechanism of plea bargaining, he said. The Directorate of Prosecutions will be overseeing this process and it is now for state governments to act.