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Law panel for mechanism to protect witnesses

With the aim of strengthening the justice system, the Law Commission has recommended institution of a mechanism for protecting identity of witnesses and protecting witnesses themselves.

india Updated: Sep 06, 2006 17:18 IST

With the aim of strengthening the justice system, the Law Commission has recommended institution of a mechanism for protecting identity of witnesses and protecting witnesses themselves.

Such programmes are essential for "fair administration of justice in which the victim and witness depose without fear or danger to their lives or property or that of their close relatives", the 17th Law Commission said taking suo motu cognisance of the subject in view of questions raised by the Supreme Court recently over the issue.

The commission, in its report, has provided a detailed framework for witness identity protection and witness protection programmes in its report submitted to the government.

"It is accepted today that witness identity protection is necessary in the case of all serious offences wherein there is danger to witnesses and it is not confined to cases of terrorism or sexual offences," the 198th report of the commission said.

The report talks about three categories of witnesses - victim-witnesses who are known to the accused, victim-witnesses not known to the accused and witnesses whose identity is not known to the accused.

The first category of witnesses requires protection from trauma and the other two categories require protection against disclosure of identity, the report said.