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Report No. 198

Chapter I.- Earlier reports of the Law Commission of India

The 14th Report of the Law Commission (1958) examined, inter alia, the question of providing adequate facilities to witnesses attending cases in courts. The 4th Report of the National Police Commission (1980) acknowledged the troubles undergone by witnesses attending proceedings in courts. The 154th Report of the Law Commission (1996) particularly noted: "Necessary confidence has to be created in the minds of the witnesses that they would be protected from the wrath of the accused in any eventuality."

The 172 nd Report of the Law Commission (2000), dealing with the review of rape laws suggested that the testimony of a minor in the case of child sexual abuse should be recorded at the earliest possible opportunity in the presence of a Judge and a child support person. It further urged that the court should permit the use of video-taped interview of the child or allow the child to testify by a closed circuit television and that the cross examination of the minor should be carried out by the Judge based on written questions submitted by the defence.

The Commission also recommended insertion of a proviso to section 273 Cr.P.C to the effect that it should be open to the prosecution to request the court to provide a screen so that the child victim does not see the accused during the trial.

In its 178 th Report (2001), the Law Commission recommended the insertion of s.164A in the Cr.PC to provide for recording of the statement of material witnesses in the presence of Magistrates where the offences were punishable with imprisonment of 10 years and more. On the basis of this recommendation, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2003 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha and is pending enactment.

Witness Identity Protection and Witness Protection Programmes Back

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