August.1.2015: Delhi has become the first state in the country to announce a scheme for witness protection.The State Government notified the Delhi Witness Protection Scheme, 2015 on Thursday. This was in pursuance of a 2013 Delhi High Court order passed by a DB headed by HMJ S. Ravinder Bhatt that the original Draft was prepared and presented by Surinder S Rathi, Addl District & Sessions Judge/OSD, DSLSA before it was approved by a High Powered Committee consisting of Principal Secretary Law, Principal Secretary Home, Secretary Finance, Director of Prosecutions, GNCTD, Commissioner Delhi Police and OSD,DSLSA. The Government of Delhi will make budgetary provisions in its annual budget for implementation of the scheme.
The policy follows directions of the High Court which, in the Jessica Lal and Nitish Katara murder cases, had asked the government to frame such a policy. "We are the first state to have such a policy. The Government is committed to acting upon more such court directions," said Home Minister Satyendar Jain.
Witnesses under three categories will be provided protection, depending on the threat perception. "The categories have been draw up based on type of threat and duration for which the protection has to be given. For instance, if there is a threat to life and it affects the day-to-day activities of a witness for a substantial period during the investigation or even after that, then the person will be in the 'A' category," said an official.
Officials say the Government has appointed Member Secretary and Officer on Special Duty of Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) as the competent authority for implementation of the scheme. All decisions and reviews will be under the purview of DSLSA. The witness has to apply for protection following which DSLSA will seek a threat analysis report from Delhi Police. "The decision to give protection or not, the category and type of protection will be decided accordingly. The report will be prepared by an ACP/DCP level officer of the district investigating the case. It will have to be submitted to the authority within five working days of receipt of the order," said a senior official. All hearings of applications will be held in-camera and full confidentially will be maintained. The witness will have the option of applying for concealment of identity.
The Government will provide different types of protection, depending on the sensitivity of the case and threat perception. It has identified 15 ways of providing protection, varying from monitoring calls and mails to temporary change of residence.
Sources say orders passed by the competent authority will be implemented by the Witness Protection Cell (WPC), which will be under Delhi Police. The WPC will have to file a monthly follow-up report on each case. There is a provision using which the identity and location of the witness can be changed. These orders will be implemented by the divisional commissioner. It will be mandatory for the investigating officer and court to inform all witnesses that such provisions exist.
Under the scheme, witnesses will be given financial aid or grant from a witness protection fund following the orders of the DSLSA.
15.7.2015 – Deaths continue but witness protection law still a far cry READ MORE…
Read the Complete Text of Delhi Witness Protection Scheme,2015-