Implement Witness Protection Scheme, SC directs Governments
It is unfortunate that many witnesses who are supposed to give truthful evidence in trial courts are subjected to pressure and intimidation by unscrupulous elements which thwart the administration of justice, the Supreme court warned.
The court directed the governments to effectively implement the Witness Protection Scheme notified in 2018. If it is not meaningfully implemented, it will cause serious prejudice to our administration of justice, the court cautioned.
The witnesses, mainly in criminal cases, who should support the prosecution sometimes turn hostile. It happens as the politicians or others wielding influence deter the witnesses. The witnesses could be intimidated or threatened so that they may not speak the truth resulting in acquittal of the accused in the case.
‘Such situations have to be ended. The government shall implement the Witness Protection Scheme so that they can reach the court and give truthful account of the incidents,’ the court observed.
The right to live includes right to live in a crime-free society and right to give evidence in a free and fair manner. If a person is intimidated, it amounts to the violation of fundamental rights guaranteed to him by the Indian Constitution, the top court said.