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Report No. 198

(Q) 5 Should the Superintendent of Police/ Commissioner of Police be empowered to certify whether a particular person or victim or witness is in danger and entitled to be admitted to the Witness Protection Programme? Should such certificate be further reviewed by the trial Judge before making an order of witness protection? Should such proceedings in court be held in camera?

A particular witness or victim can be admitted into the Witness Protection Programme, if there is danger to his life or property exists due to his being a witness or victim. Now, question is, who has to certify that such a danger exists and that the witness is entitled to be admitted into the Programme? Whether senior police officers like Superintendent of Police or Commissioner of Police be empowered to certify about the existence of danger and also to certify that particular person is entitled to be admitted into such Witness Protection Programme?

Another point is that whether such certificate is itself sufficient for admitting a person into the Programme or it should be further reviewed by the trial judge before making an order of witness protection? Whether reviewing proceedings in the court should be held in camera.

Most of the respondents (33 out of 40) are of the view that senior police officers like Superintendent of Police or Commissioner of Police should be empowered to certify whether a particular person or victim or witness is in danger and is entitled to be admitted into the Witness Protection Programme. Among these 33 respondents, 8 are from the State Governments, 10 are from Police Officials, 3 are from the Judges and 12 are from others.

Among these respondents, 15 respondents have further opined that such certificate of Police Officers should, further be reviewed by the trial judge, while 8 respondents are of the view that there is no need of further reviewing by the trial judge. Among these 15 respondents, 7 are also of the view that such reviewing proceedings in the court should be held in camera.

Only 7 respondents (1 State Government and 6 others) are of the view that S.P. or Commissioner of Police should not be empowered to certify whether a particular person is in danger and is entitled to be admitted into the Programme.



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