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Saturday, 3 October 2020

Haryana rolls out witness protection scheme

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 2

With the government notifying the Haryana Witness Protection Scheme-2020, an institutional mechanism has been put in place to protect witnesses appearing in different courts across the state.

Under the scheme, the witnesses, including immediate family members, will be able to avail the benefit of the protection of identity, change of identity and their relocation for their safety during the pendency of the trial. A “threat analysis report” of the witness will be prepared by the respective district police heads followed by the preparation of the “witness protection order” by the competent authority headed by the District and Sessions Judge concerned. Thereafter the “witness protection order” will be implemented by the “witness protection cell” headed by the DCPs/SPs at the district level and the ADGP (Law and Order) at the state headquarters.

Now, the witnesses have been categorised into three categories. The first category will cover those witnesses where the threat extended to their life or their families during investigation and during and after the trial. The second category comprises those witnessed where the threat extended to safety, reputation or property of the witnesses and their family. The last category will be of those witnesses where the threat extended to their intimidation and harassment. Meanwhile, an elaborate safety mechanism for the witnesses has also been put in place for their safety. This includes that the accused and the witnesses don’t come face-to-face during investigation and the installation of security devices such as CCTVs, alarms and security doors at the home of witness.

Escort to and from the court, holding of in-camera trials, usage of the specially designed witness court rooms, expeditious recording of depositions during trial are some other protective measures for the witnesses.

from The Tribune

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