New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday approved a witness protection regime in the country after accepting the fact that one of the main reasons for witnesses turning hostile is that they are not given security by the State. A Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and S. Abdul Nazeer said Witness Protection Scheme, 2018 will come into effect immediately across all States.
Under the Witness Protection Scheme, witness protection may be extended by providing a police escort to the witness up to the courtroom. However, in more serious cases, the court may taking extraordinary measures such as offering temporary residence in a safe house, giving a new identity, and relocation at an undisclosed place.
The Supreme Court said the scheme aimed to enable a witness to depose fearlessly and truthfully. It would be the law of the land till Parliament enacted suitable legislation.
The issue came up when the Supreme Court was hearing a public interest litigation plea seeking protection for witnesses in rape cases involving self-styled preacher Asaram Bapu. It is alleged that as many as 10 witnesses have already been attacked and three witnesses have been killed.