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Report No. 198

(Q) 8. Should a witness who is being admitted into the Programme be required to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the incharge of the Programme setting out his rights, obligations, restrictions as well as of the person in-charge of the Programme? What are the means of enforcing such rights and obligations?

In most of the countries, where the Witness Protection Programmes exists, there is provision that the witness who is admitted into the Programe, is required to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the in-charge of the Programme. The said MOU contains the rights, obligations and restrictions of the witness as well as of the in-charge of the Programme. Whether in our country a witness who is being admitted into the Programme should be required to enter into such kind of MOU? Further, what should be the means for enforcing such rights and obligations?

Most of the respondents (29 out of 37) have supported the view that a witness who is being admitted into the Witness Protection Programme should be required to enter into a MOU with the in-charge of the Programme setting out his rights, obligations and restrictions as well as of the person in-charge of the Programme. Among them 6 responses are from the State Governments, 9 are from the Police Officers, 3 are from the Judges and 11 are from others.

In respect of the question that how these rights and obligations can be enforced, various options have been suggested. The State Government of Jharkhand has suggested that a special Act may be enacted making provision for penal clause in case of violation of MOU: D.G.Police, Gujarat is of the view that the Police under a special statute can enforce it. D.G.Police, Haryana, has suggested that some security in shape of documents, title to property may be taken from the person admitted into the Programme.

Such person may enforce his rights through court of law. D.G. Police Goa, is of the view that some rules have to be formulated for enforcing such rights & obligations. D.G. Police, Punjab has suggested that for the purpose of enforcement of such rights and obligations, Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 may be amended. Shri Justice Anoop V. Mohta, Judge, Bombay High Court is of the view that heavy penalty should be imposed in case of violations of restrictions and obligations. A retired D.G.Police of M.P. suggests amendment in Section 446 Cr.P.C.

Only 8 respondents (2 State Governments, 1 Police Officer and 5 others) are not in favour of requirement of entering into a MOU by the person admitted into the Witness Protection Programme.



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