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Supreme Court directs states, UTs to implement witness protection scheme

The issue of witness protection scheme had cropped up earlier when the top court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking protection for witnesses in rape cases involving self-styled preacher Asaram Bapu.

india Updated: Dec 05, 2018 23:09 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
Supreme Court,Centre,witness protection scheme
The Supreme Court has approved the Centre’s draft witness protection scheme and asked all the states to implement it till the Parliament comes out with a legislation.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

Paving way for a comprehensive witness protection programme, the Supreme Court has directed all states to implement in ‘letter and spirit’ the Witness Protection Scheme, 2018 of the central government till a law is in place.

A bench of Justice A K Sikri and Justice S Abdul Nazeer in their judgment said that the witness protection scheme “shall be the ‘law’ under Article 141and 142 of the Constitution till the enactment of suitable parliamentary and/or state legislations on the subject.”

The court also directed state governments and union territories to set up vulnerable witness deposition complexes having separate witness room, accused room, play area for child witnesses, pantry, separate toilet and an exclusive and comfortable waiting area and are equipped with all facilities of audio-visual exchange for a free interface between the presiding judge, the witness and the accused without the witness facing the accused.

The court said, “Witnesses... are important players in the judicial system...”

First Published: Dec 05, 2018 11:57 IST