District Legal Service Authority to assess threat, inform cops

Following a Supreme Court directive, the Centre has prepared a comprehensive witness protection scheme to ensure they can give their testimony in courts without fear. 

Published: 13th May 2018 10:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th May 2018 10:12 AM   |  A+A-

Court Hammer

Image for representational purpose only.

NEW DELHI: Following a Supreme Court directive, the Centre has prepared a comprehensive witness protection scheme to ensure they can give their testimony in courts without fear. The SC directive came while hearing a PIL seeking protection for witnesses in rape cases involving self-styled preacher Asaram Bapu, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in one of the cases last month.Several witnesses in the rape cases involving Asaram and his son mysteriously died or disappeared. Some witnesses moved court seeking protection after they were threatened. 

Demands for a comprehensive witness protection programme have been raised many times because of low conviction rates in criminal cases because of witnesses turning hostile after threat and intimidation.
The draft witness protection scheme was circulated to all the states asking them to send their comments by May 13. However, according to sources, only half of the states have submitted their views.
According to the scheme, a District Legal Service Authority (DLSA) will identify and assess cases and threats to witnesses and then forward it to the police station concerned. 

Witnesses will be classified into three categories—those whose lives and that of their families are at stake and their routine crippled for a considerable period; those facing threat during trial; and those who are moderately threatened.A separate ‘witness protection fund’ will be maintained in each state to meet the expenses incurred in securing the witnesses. The new programme is banking on a 2015 scheme of DLSA for which separate funds have been provided and the police commissioner has been vested with the task of implementation.  

As per the scheme, police escorts will be provided to witnesses who are being threatened and if needed, they would be relocated to a temporary safe house. The scheme further says that the authorities would keep monitoring emails and telephone calls of the witnesses to nab the people threatening them. Last year, the apex court had expressed concern over witnesses turning hostile in high-profile cases, resulting in the accused getting acquitted. 

Ensuring witness Protection
● Section 195 A of the Indian Penal Code has the provision of witness protection
● Countries where witness protection programme is running successfully include the US, the UK, China, Italy, Canada, Hong Kong and Ireland
Previous Recommendations
● In 2003, Justice V Malimath Committee on criminal justice system recommended for witness protection
● The Law Commission in its 198th report also stressed on witness protection

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Comments(7)

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  • dharmendra

    only those witness were attacked that were created by media only
    5 months ago reply
  • Rahul shukla

    In Asaramji bapu's case the witnesses were killed just to make the case more negative to keep Asaramji bapu in jail, it must be noted that whenever Asaramji bapu applied for bail at the same time witnesses were killed so this clearly shows that there are some conspirators who were killing the witnesses so that Asaramji bapu cannot come out on bail, any accused won't destroy his case and that too being in jail he cannot direct for witness killing.
    5 months ago reply
  • Om

    The case of Sant Shri Asaramji Bapuji is a height of injustice. Only in a corrupt country like India one can expect to see something like this.  Looking at the FIR which did not even mention anything about rape, the medical report which clearly stated there was not even a scratch on the so called victim girl, not a single witness was able to corroborate the accuser account, 50+ witnesses said that Sant Shri Asaramji Bapuji was not present there, not giving bail to an 82 year old ailing saint, and then giving judgement on a fake case. Humanity should be ashamed. Only because He is a Hindu saint?   Moreover look at this shameless media media who keeps parroting a fake case of assault as rape? I AM ASHAMED TO BE AN INDIAN
    5 months ago reply
  • Vibha Gupta

    Many a times unnecessary havoc has been created about the threats being given to witnesses.Particularly in Asaram Bapu's case,all the witnesses were alive No one was killed even the Aashram demanded for the safety of the witnesses.Media has not been unbiased in this case These people created unnecessary havoc .Never brought about the truth to the viewers.To defame Asaram Bapu media was shouting Rape!Rape! right from the beginning but the fact is that till now the girl has no proof to support her statement that she even entered his room Media did not tell that forensic investigation has not been done in the case . Investigation officerChanchal Mishra told that no such thing had happened that needed a forensic investigation In fact she knew that this will prove that the girl did not even enter the room.
    5 months ago reply
  • Surender Kumar

    Do not defame prestigious hindu Sant Shri Asaram Bapu Ji by applying false allegations like attacking witnesses. All witnesses r alive in case of Asaram Bapu Ji. All stories broadcasted by media r fake. No charge of Section 302 of Indian Penal Code on him. Secondly in Jodhpur case, many evidences were in his favour, many witnesses witnessed in favour of him even by these girl proved to be major, still he convicted by court. It was surprising! Really surprising! But we have seen in many cases that a person convicted in lower court acquitted in high court. So now we expect justice from honourable High Court.
    5 months ago reply
  • Namit anand

    For your kind information,I want to tell you one thing that according to dr. Subramanyam swami bapuji's case no one witness attacked or disappered who ever is attacked was not material witness . Secondly if somebody attacked to a person (normal citizen) , there should be proper investigation report ready by police but not even register a FIR . Only media is telling this bullsit things which is not acceptable at all. According to indian judiciary should follow the paid media campaign as they work only for money .
    5 months ago reply
  • shekhar

    Don't mislead people ! This is not a rape case against Asaram bapu, the FIR says, girl complained about touching her body. And that also never proven by medical report. Get the facts before fooling viewers!
    5 months ago reply
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