Report No. 198
The preceding chapters in this Consultation Paper have dealt with the various aspects of witness anonymity and witness protection. They noted that witness anonymity is necessitated by several factor.- intimidation and threat to the personal safety of the witnesses or the peculiar vulnerability of the witness on account of age or other disadvantage. The responses of the courts and the legislatures in our country and several other countries have been discussed.
While our courts have recognized the need for and granted witness anonymity on a case by case basis, and that too to a limited extent, they have reiterated the need for a comprehensive legislation covering all aspects of witness anonymity. Apart from witness anonymity, our Courts have stated that there is a need for devising witness protection programmes on the lines of similar programmes in other countries. Such programmes are essential in order to bring into being a statutory right to a witness, who is in danger, to seek protectio.- either physically or through other measures, apart from being granted anonymity.
With a view to initiating public discussion on what should be the legislative scheme on witness anonymity and the structure of the witness protection programmes, the Law Commission elicits responses to the following questionnaire which is divided into two parts: Part A deals with witness anonymity and Part B with witness protection programmes. After receiving responses to various questions, the Commission will come forward with its final report. The Appendix carries the statutes in New Zealand and Portugal, which contain significant provisions.