Report No. 198
(Q) 2 Apart from the change of identity, should other measures for the protection of witnesses be also provided. For example,
(a) mention in the proceeding of an address different from one he uses or which does not coincide with the domicile location provided by the civil law;
(b) being granted a transportation in a State vehicle for purposes of intervention in the procedural act;
(c) being granted a room, eventually put under surveillance and security located in the court or the police premises;
(d) benefiting from police protection extended to his relatives or other persons in close contact with him;
(e) benefiting from inmate regimen which allow him to remain isolated from others and to be transported in a separate vehicle;
(f) delivery of documents officially issued;
(g) changes in the physiognomy or the body of the beneficiary;
(h) granting of a new place to live in the country or abroad, for a period to be determined;
(i) free transportation of the beneficiary, his close relatives and the respective property, to the new place of living;
(j) implementation of conditions for the obtaining of means of maintenance;
(k) granting of a survival allowance for a specific period of time.
In respect of the above measures, the responses were that change of identity is sufficient but that other measures (a) to (k) may be taken wherever the circumstances require. Of course, as stated above, it is agreed that the programme should be confined to exceptional cases where the offences are triable by Courts of Session. We have examined these responses in detail.
(A) In our view, the concerned witness may be given a different identity, (say) he or she may be described by a letter in the English alphabet, and his or her address may be kept secret. If any statement is recorded from the witness, the name and address should not be disclosed except to the investigation agency, and to the Magistrate who hears the application for grant of the protection under the programme.
If the Witness Protection Programme offers no more than identity protection, such protection is not very expensive and no heavy allocation of funds is necessary. The only difference between such protection and witness identity protection discussed in Part I of this Report is that identity protection given under the programme is intended for purposes outside Court in various situations whereas identity protection dealt with in Part I deals with protection during investigation before Police and inquiry and trial in the Court. The witness moves in society under a different name or identity under the witness protection programme.
The Magistrate while granting such identity protection under the programme, need not to give any notice to the accused. The Police may place the relevant material before the Magistrate or the Magistrate may record the statement of the witnes.- keeping his or her identity confidentia.- and he may pass an order in that behalf and the new identity will apply in all transactions or proceedings outside Court also.
(B) It is only where the other measures such as re-location, maintenance, providing accommodation, transport etc. are given, apart from identity protection, that it will be effective but it then becomes necessary for the Union/State Governments to make adequate funds available under the programme.
There may indeed be a few grave cases where apart from giving identity protection, the other measures (a) to (k) referred to above, may be necessary. It cannot be suggested that there will be no cases requiring some of the other measures (a) to (k) to be given. Therefore, in our view, it is implicit that the programme must contemplate other measures, in addition to identity protection, to be taken wherever necessary even though such measures will be confined to extraordinary cases among the class of cases of serious offences triable by Courts of Session.
It is, therefore, not possible to deny the benefit of other measures absolutely at least in deserving cases, however small in number they may be.
We, therefore, recommend that the various measures (a) to (k) referred to above, must be part of the programme and adequate funds must be allocated by the Union and State Governments.