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Report No. 198

4.7 The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2003: preventing witnesses turning hostile:

In the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2003, introduced in the Rajya Sabha in August, 2003, the above recommendations have been accepted by further modifying the recommendation (3) of recording statement before a Magistrate to apply where the sentence for the offence could be seven years or more. A further provision is being proposed for summary punishment of the witness by the same Court if the witness goes back on his earlier statement recorded before the Magistrate. Another provision is also being made to find out whether the witness is going back on his earlier statement because of inducement or pressure or threats or intimidation.

4.8 Thus, the above analysis of the various recommendations of the Law Commission made from time to time, including the 178 th Report shows that they do not address the issue of 'protection' and 'anonymity' of witnesses or to the procedure that has to be followed for balancing the rights of the witness on the one hand and the rights of the accused to a fair trial. In the absence of such a procedural law, the Supreme Court has had to step in on the judicial side in recent case to give various directions and these judgments will be discussed in the next chapter, Chapter V.

4.9 It is, therefore, proposed to deal with the above gaps in the law, in detail in the Consultation Paper.



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