Maharashtra government tables bill to protect witnesses in rape, murder cases
With the bill, the state expects an improvement in conviction rates; drop in cases of witnesses turning hostile and pendency of casesmumbai Updated: Aug 11, 2017 01:41 IST
The state government on Thursday tabled the Maharashtra Witness Protection and Security Bill 2017 to protect witnesses and their relatives through the course of investigation in criminal cases.
Under the bill, brought in accordance with the Supreme Court directives and recommendations of the Law Commission of India, witnesses in offences punishable with death or imprisonment for more than seven years (rape, murder and kidnapping of minors) and their families will get police protection to help them depose without fear.
The bill has a provision for formation of state- and district-level committees headed by senior police officers to monitor the cases and decide the extent and nature of protection. The witnesses can approach the committee if they get threats.
With the bill, the state expects an improvement in conviction rates; drop in cases of witnesses turning hostile and pendency of cases. “Such provisions [protection] will give witnesses the confidence to come forward and help law enforcement and judicial authorities,” the bill states.
“The move will help us improve conviction rate and decrease the rate of pendency of court cases. The rate of the witnesses turning hostile will also come down,” said an official.
Other bills passed
The Assembly passed a bill empowering the state government to levy 3% stamp duty on ready reckoner rates on gift deeds of immovable property within family. The existing stamp duty on such transfers is just Rs500.