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Report No. 198

Chapter VIII

Stage At Which Identity of Witness Has To Be Protecte.- Investigation, Pre-Trial or Trial and Post-Trial

The next important question that has to be considered is as to the stage at which the witness identity protection is to be granted in our country. We must make it clear that our proposals in this Report deal only with 'serious offences', namely, those triable by a Sessions Court or equivalent designated/Special Court.

There is some distinction between protection to victims on the one hand and witnesses on the other.

(a) In several cases, the victims may be known to the accused but this is not an absolute rule. There may be cases where the victim may not be known to the accused such as a case in which there is an indiscriminate firing by the accused. There may be several such situations. There may also be cases where the victim and the accused are known to each other.

(b) So far as witnesses other than victims are concerned, it is possible in most cases, that the accused does not know the witness. Barring close associates or eye-witnesses to the offence who may sometimes be known to the accused, most of the prosecution witnesses may generally be not known to the accused. It can also happen that in the matter of serious offences, not only the life but the property of the witnesses or their relatives may be in grave danger if the witness identity becomes known to the accused during investigation or during the inquiry or before the commencement of trial.

It is, therefore, necessary to deal separately with the stages of (A) investigation; (B) inquiry; (C) trial; and (D) post trial.

Witness Identity Protection and Witness Protection Programmes Back

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