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Report No. 198

(Q) 12. Do you support the view that where a witness who is admitted to the Programme fails or refuses to testify without any just cause, he should be prosecuted for contempt of court and the protection order be cancelled?

32 out of 40 respondents (including 7 State Governments, 7 Police Officers, 2 Judges and 17 others) stated that not only action should be taken for contempt of Court but that the protection be withdrawn.

If the protected witness violates the MOU and fails or refuses to testify without justifiable cause, both action for contempt of Court and cancellation of the order admitting the witness to the programme must follow.

It is true that so far as our subordinate Courts are concerned, they do not have power to punish anybody for contempt of Court but the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 envisages that the Judge inform the concerned High Court to take action under the Act and, therefore, this procedure will have to be followed. In addition, the police or the public prosecutor can move the Magistrate who passed the orders admitting the witness to the programme, for cancellation of the order admitting the witness to the programme.



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