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Report No. 198

(Q) 2. Do you think witness anonymity should be confined to criminal cases or should anonymity be provided in civil case as well? Should it be extended to defence witnesses also, as done under some statutes in other countries?

In some countries, apart from the prosecution witnesses, defence witnesses can also seek anonymity. Similarly even witnesses in civil cases in certain circumstances are also entitled to seek anonymity. Now the question arises whether in India also, defence witnesses and witnesses in civil cases be allowed to seek anonymity?

On the issue of extending the scope of witness anonymity to the defence witnesses as well as to witnesses in civil cases, opinion of respondents is divided.

Out of 41 responses, 24 are in favor that anonymity may be given to defence witnesses also while 17 respondents have opposed the idea of giving anonymity to defence witnesses. Among those 24, who have supported the idea, 6 are from State Governments, 7 are senior police officers (D.G. Police/ I.G. Police), and 3 are Judges, and 8 are others. Among 17 respondents, who have not favoured giving anonymity to defence witnesses, 4 are from State Governments, 4 are senior Police Officers, and 9 are others.

In respect of providing anonymity to witnesses in civil cases, only 19 respondents out of 41 have agreed while 22 respondents have opposed the idea of giving anonymity to witnesses in civil cases. Among those 19 respondents, who have agreed to the proposal, 5 are from State Governments, 5 are Senior Police Officials, and 2 are Judges and 7 are others. Among 23 respondents, who have not agreed to the proposal, 5 are from State Governments, 6 are from Senior Police Officials, and 1 is a Judge and remaining 13 are others.



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