Report No. 198
Protection of Identity of Witnesses; Special Statutes in India
3.1 Protection of identity of witness: Special statutes
The need for the existence and exercise of a general power to grant protection to a witness and preserve his or her anonymity in a criminal case has been universally recognized as being in the interests of the community and the administration of justice, to ensure that serious offences like terrorist acts or organized crime are effectively prosecuted and punished. It is notorious fact that a witness who gives evidence which is unfavourable to an accused in a trial for (say), a terrorist offence would expose himself to severe reprisals which can result in death or severe bodily injury to him or to his family members.
While the present Consultation Paper is being issued for formulating similar procedures in the case of other offences, it is first necessary to take notice of existing provisions relating to witness anonymity and prosecution. For the present, we shall therefore refer to some special statutes dealing with specific types of offences where such protection is granted. In this Chapter, we propose to refer to these statutes.