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Report No. 198

(Q) 7. Should the witness satisfy the Judge, in the said preliminary inquiry, that his life or that his relations or their property is in serious danger or is it sufficient for him to show that there is 'likelihood' of such danger? Is his mere ipse dixit on the question of danger sufficient to deny the accused the right for an open trial in the physical presence of the witness?

Here the question is, whether in the preliminary inquiry (mentioned in Q. 6) the witness should satisfy the Judge about existence of danger to his life or property, or that of his relatives or is it sufficient for the witness to show 'likelihood' of such danger?

In all, 32 respondents, have given their opinion on this issue. Among them 20 (7 Senior Police Officials, 5 State Governments, 1 Judge, and 7 others) are of the view that in the said preliminary inquiry, the witness should satisfy the Judge about danger to his or his relations life or their property. Mere likelihood of danger is not sufficient to seek anonymity.

12 respondents (1 Police Officials, 4 State Governments, 2 Judges and 5 others) however, are of the view that the witness may only be required to show likelihood of danger to life or property of himself and that of his relations. There is no need for him to satisfy the Judge about actual existence of such a danger.

7 respondents have not given any opinion on this issue, as they are not in favour of holding such a preliminary inquiry at all.

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