The IUP Journal of Law Review
Witness Protection: Judicial Trends in India

Article Details
Pub. Date : July, 2020
Product Name : The IUP Journal of Law Review
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJLR072020
Author Name : V Gopi Ranganath
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 10

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Abstract

According to Jeremy Bentham, ?Witness is the eyes and ears of Justice?. The witness may be incapable of speaking the truth in court for reasons beyond his control, such as negligence or ignorance or a combination of a number of reasons. In its various rulings, the Apex Court of India has emphasized the need for witness protection in India. The Law Commission of India in its 198th report on Witness Identity Protection and Witness Protection Programs recommended the statute and allocation of adequate funds by the Central and State governments for the purpose. Sometimes, the witnesses are subjected to threats of physical violence and other harm by the parties against whom the witnesses are likely to depose in civil or criminal cases. This often results in the witnesses? absenting themselves from the Courts, going back on their versions and turning hostile. In some cases, they seek police protection also. There are various strategies for witness protection. This paper highlights the judicial pronouncements and methods to be adopted by the lawmakers for protecting witnesses.


Indian Society: Introduction

?Witness?, as Bentham said, ?is the eyes and ears of justice?. The trial process should be conducted efficiently with an emphasis on quality. If the witness is incapable of acting as the eyes and ears of justice, the trial will be damaged and frozen and it will no longer be a fair trial. The witness may be incapable of speaking the truth in court for reasons beyond his control, such as negligence or ignorance or a combination of a number of reasons. For the broader public and social interests, there is a need to protect witnesses who are generally not guilty of prosecution and whose interests are not affected by their submission agencies. The time has come to give serious ideas to protect witnesses so that the ultimate truth and justice presented before the court will be successful and the trial will not be reduced to ridicule. The State has a definite role to play in protecting the witnesses, to start with at least in sensitive cases involving those in power, who have political patronage and could wield muscle and money power. As a protector of its citizens, it has to ensure that during trial in court, the witness could safely depose truth without any fear of being haunted by those against whom he has deposed.1 This paper highlights the judicial pronouncements and methods to be adopted by the lawmakers for protecting witnesses.


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