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Report No. 198

(Q) 7. Should necessary funds be provided by both the Central and State Governments for implementation of the Witness Protection Programme?

About 31 out of 41 respondents stated that the necessary funds must be provided both by the Central and State Governments. Among the 31 respondents, 6 were State Governments, 8 were police officers, 3 were Judges and 6 were others. The Government of Bihar and Administration of Union Territory of Lakshadweep have suggested that Central Government should meet 75% of the expenses while the States of Orissa, West Bengal and Tripura, and the Director General of Police, Punjab and the Director General of Manipur stated that the Central Government must bear 100% of the expenses. Only 4 respondents stated that the State Government must bear the expenses.

As stated earlier, the expenditure for Witness Protection Programmes must be borne by the Central Government and State Governments equally, 50% each. It is to be noted that the Indian Penal Code, 1860 is a piece of Central Legislation, which is being administered by the Courts established by the State Governments. So is the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

Further, in 1976, by constitutional amendment, the subject of 'Administration of Justice has been shifted in Schedule 7 of the Constitution from the State List to the Concurrent List under Entry 11A and by that, the Central and State Governments have assumed joint responsibility for the 'administration of justice'. The Central Government cannot, in our view, throw the entire burden on the State Governments on the ground that 'law and order' is a State subject.

The subject of 'Witness Protection Programmes' is not strictly a 'law and order' issue, but is directly connected with 'Administration of Justice' so that witnesses may depose without fear while making statements during investigation or giving evidence during inquiry and trial. We have already referred to the fact, as stated in para 7.7.4 of the Consultation Paper that in USA, since the programme's inception, it has obtained an overall conviction rate of 89% as a result of testimony of witness who wee admitted to witness protection programmes. We are of the view the Central and State Governments have to bear the expenditure equally.

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