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Chandigarh

Posted at: Jun 11, 2019, 8:10 AM; last updated: Jun 11, 2019, 8:10 AM (IST)

Vulnerable witness centre comes up at District Courts

To protect those assisting law enforcement: Sessions Judge

security, safety of witnesses

  • Several other facilities for the protection of the witnesses — security devices at witness’s home, regular patrolling at his/her house, temporary change of residence to a relative’s house or a nearby town, escort to and from the court and provision of government vehicle or a state-funded conveyance for the date of court hearing — may also be given if necessary.

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 10

A vulnerable witness centre has started functioning at the District Courts here. The centre has been set up under the Witness Protections Scheme, 2018.

District and Sessions Judge Balbir Singh said: “The purpose of the centre is that a witness is able to testify without any pressure or fear. It aims to promote the enforcement of law by facilitating the protection of persons involved directly or indirectly in providing assistance to the criminal law enforcement agencies and overall administration of justice.”

Witnesses need to be given confidence to come forward to assist law enforcement and judicial authorities, he added.

The centre is aimed at identify a series of measures that may be adopted to safeguard witnesses and members of their family from intimidation and threats against their lives, reputation and property. The application for seeking protection order under the scheme can be filed in a prescribed form before the competent authority of the district.

Functioning of the centre

At the vulnerable witness centre, there is a courtroom for witnesses connected with videoconferencing, a side room with videoconferencing from which the witness can see the court proceedings, a room for the accused wherein he/she get access through microphone and intercom to communicate with his lawyer. The accused and the victim will be in different rooms connected through videoconferencing. So, they cannot see each other physically, but only through screen. Those outside cannot see the proceedings which are being conducted at the centre. A separate room with toys and furniture is also a part of the centre where children, witnesses and their kin can wait, play, rest and sit comfortably.

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