Report No. 198
(22) Against the order granting anonymity to a witness, should the law provide a right of appeal to the High Vourt fixing a time frame of one month from the date of service, for disposal appeal?
A majority of respondents favoured appeal to High court and a time frame of one month.
We recommend that so far as an order by the Magistrate at the stage of investigation is concerned (see section 6 of the Draft Bill), there need be no appeal by the prosecution or the witness if the application is refused by the Magistrate because an appeal can delay the investigation which is time bound.
There is no question of the suspect filing any appeal against an order under section 6.
But, so far as an order in a preliminary inquiry during Inquiry proceedings passed by the Magistrate or by the Sessions Judge before commencement of recording evidence, it is necessary to provide an appea.- whether the application is granted or refused. The appeal must be to the High Court against an order granting anonymity or refuses anonymity and the time frame must, as far as possible, be one month from the date of service of notice on the respondents in the appeal.
Applicability of the proposed Act
So far as the applicability of the proposed Act is concerned, we recommend a provision as follow:
"15 The provision of this Act shall apply to:
(a) victims of serious offences the recording of whole statements at the trial in the Court of session has not commenced; and
(b) threatened witness in relation to serious offences whose identity has not been revealed to the suspect of the accused and whose statements have not been recorded during investigation or during inquiry before the Magistrate or before their statements are recorded by the Court of Session during trial, at the date of commencement of this Act"