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Report No. 198

(Q) 11. In the above context, should the witness depose from a different room or different place, and should there be another judicial officer in that room to ensure that the witness is free while giving his evidence?

In order to conceal the identity of witness, he may be asked to depose from a different room or place where the accused is not present. It may be through video conferencing. In such a situation, it is also necessary that witness should depose freely. To ensure this, another judicial officer may remain present in the room or place from where the witness is deposing. Such a provision exists in Portuguese legislation no. 93/99 of 14th July 1999.

26 respondents (out of 41) have supported the proposal that the witness should depose from a different room or different place, and there should be another judicial officer present in that room to ensure that the witness is free while giving evidence. Among these 26 responses, 8 are from State Governments, 6 are from Police Officers, 2 are from Judges and remaining 10 are others.

5 respondents (a Judge from A.P. High Court, State Government of Manipur, I.G. Police Sikkim, and 2 advocates) are of the view that the witness should depose from a different room, but there is no need of another judicial officer in that room.

D.G. Police, Manipur has opined that either a screen may be provided or arrangement may be made where the witness does not see the body or face of the accused so that the witness is able to depose about the entire incident in a free atmosphere without any hesitation and fear.

I.G. Police Assam is of the view that the Judge may record the statement of the witness in his office chamber instead of the court.

However, 7 respondents (State Governments of Bihar and Meghalaya, D.G. Police Mizoram, and 4 others) are not in favour of the proposal altogether. However, the State Govt. of Bihar in its response has stated that the proposal is impracticable. It stated that there is already an acute shortage of judicial officers. It will be a complicated affair and expensive too.



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