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Report No. 198

(18) Can the defence be allowed to contend that the prosecution witness who is given anonymity is a stock witness?

The question, as posed, arises at the trial. The responses in this behalf were divided, some in favour of permitting such a contention, some against it and some stating that it may depend upon circumstances and burden must be placed on the accused.

From a practical point of view, though the accused may contend that the witness is a stock witness, he shall have to substantiate the contention by material or circumstances which do not identify the witness. Thus, though it is technically permissible to raise such a contention, it appears to impose a very heavy burden on the accused.

This can be best left to be decided by the Judge and hence no separate provision in the Bill is necessary.



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