The Need for Witness Protection Laws in India: A Necessity or a Luxury?

Kaazina Kapadia and Ashish Nath Jha, Gujarat National Law University, Gandinagar. This Article won 4th position in 4th RostrumLegal Essay Competition, 2016

Across the country, the conviction rates for murder and rape are 10% and 12% respectively as a large number of witnesses turn hostile in court. In cases where there is a difference in power and status between the victim and the accused, there is a huge possibility of the victim and the witnesses being threatened and induced by the accused. To safeguard public interest, measures need to be devised to eliminate the scope for such happenings. Various courts and authorities in India have raised the issue of witness protection several times since Independence, but after 50 years of the first formal mention of the expression ‘witness-protection’ in the 14th Report of the Law Commission of India in 1958, the government still has not felt the need to create legal provisions for witnesses to feel secure so that justice is not compromised. There are a handful of cases in which some degree of protection is provided to witnesses, through special statutes for specific situations. This essay addresses the urgent need to introduce a statutory provision for witness protection, at the same time keeping in mind that implementing such a legislation would be an overwhelming task in an over-populated country like India with an understaffed police force. Indian laws have provisions for witness protection, but there is no comprehensive legislation that provides standard operating procedures to ensure their safety. The essay opens avenues for how a case can be termed as critical enough, in order for its witnesses to be given police protection, and provides for alternatives like reducing the security covers for politicians to divert resources for witness protection. Furthermore, the authors have evaluated the aspect of the laborious procedure a witness has to undergo presently to claim protection from the police or the courts; combined with the financial burden on the economy to provide protection to a single witness. The essay comparatively analyses the witness protection laws in countries like the USA, South Africa and Hong Kong, where the witnesses are not only given protection, but alternative identities with skill training as well. Despite there being talks of India having similar laws after the 154th, 178th and 198th Law Commission report, in practice, mechanisms to guard and shield witnesses outside the courtroom are not relevant in the Indian legal scenario. The essay also takes a Constitutional aspect into consideration where the lack of witness protection and the witness turning hostile ultimately results in perjury and the victim being deprived of a fair trial under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, Article 10 of the UDHR and 14 of the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights. The essay seeks to evaluate the pros and cons of having a standard witness protection in India, and the consequences of its enforcement.

The French Nobel laureate Andre Gide once said: “Everything has been said already, but as no one listens, we must always begin again.[i]” Along the same lines, the discussion and deliberation of having witness protection laws in the country has been spanning over more than half a century. Over the years, the Indian judicial system has been plagued by an abrupt disposal of criminal trials as the key witnesses turn hostile, or are found dead before they can testify against the accused in court. A criminal case is built upon the edifice of evidence which is admissible under law, for which witnesses are needed to provide evidence: be it direct or circumstantial. The absence of witness protection laws in the country has led to the increase in crime rates, along with strengthening the legal position of the offenders, as witnesses are eliminated from the case by people in power as fast as a fly gathering around a box of sweets. In India, it is a general norm for the eye witnesses or bystanders to not pay heed to or to deny the commission of a crime outright, owing to the fear of threats for life, abduction, maiming, rape and the like.

Once a witness skates over an incident of crime, the victim is left in a tight spot to prove the case against the accused. In the recent times, perjury has become a common practice in courts. However, in most cases, since the guilt of an accused is majorly dependent on the witness evidence; it is essential for perjury to be curbed to a minimum by the written law. India has seen many cases where the judges themselves are aware of the fact the witness is going back on the original statement, but the lack of evidence leaves the Judge no other recourse than to dispose the trial. A lot of hue and cry has been raised over the years during various high profile criminal cases over the rapidly collapsing chassis of the criminal justice system in the country because of the lack of witnesses who are willing to testify. Witness protection is termed as one of the four critical ingredients that ensure integrity of a testimony, along with an independent investigation, integrity of the prosecution and police reform.

A paragraph from a 2016 letter of Dr. Raghuram Rajan[ii], to his staff, reads as: “We do not punish the wrongdoer- unless he is small and weak. This belief feeds on itself. No one wants to go after the rich and well-connected wrongdoer, which means they get away with even more. If we are to have strong sustainable growth, this culture of impunity should stop.”

While this thought must have been meant for financial wrongdoers, it would not be incorrect to apply it to the criminal scenario as well. Acknowledging the fact that there are close to a hundred criminal cases filed across the country each week, it is financially and practically preposterous to believe that there can be protection given to each witness in every case. Even if the witness was given protection, it is unlikely that the witness is completely safe, as in most cases of perceived threat, it is usually found that the accused is financially, politically and socially much more influential than the victim and witness; which enables the accused to be in a higher position to coerce the witness, hampering the victim to get an opportunity to get justice. No country can afford to expose its morally correct citizens to the peril of being harassed by anti-social elements like rapists and murderers.[iii] As observed by the Apex Court in the Best Bakery case[iv], legislative measures to emphasise the prohibition against witness tampering have become an imminent and inevitable need of the day.

The history of codification of witness protection regulations in India

India is not altogether alien to legal provisions protecting witnesses and victims in certain cases. There are talks of the Whistle-blower Protection Act to ensure safety of individuals who expose corruption, and many witnesses in rape and murder cases have been granted police protection by the courts; however it seems that the effort is not enough. The Vyapam scam, the Asaram case, and the Naroda Patia dispute are only a few beacons to confront the urgent need for witness protection laws to be drafted and enforced in India.

In layman terms, witness protection would refer to a protecting a witness from physical harm, but in the Indian context, it had a restrictive understanding. The initial reports of the Law Commission in India meant a witness should be protected from discomfort and inconvenience. All references made from 1958 to 2003 only indicated towards the facilities that can be provided to a witness in terms of conveyance and accommodation during the trial.

The talks of the concept of witness protection legislations and programmes in India started as early as in 1958, in the 14th Law Commission Report.[v] The report recognizes that as soon as a witness was called, it was not uncommon for the opposite party to do everything within their power to dissuade the witness from testifying. The report concentrated more on the inadequate arrangements made for witnesses in the court, and observed that if the witness is not taken care of, he is likely to develop an attitude of indifference to the question of bringing the offender to justice.

However, at that time, the need for having a statute in place did not seem relevant, as the Committee believed the threat of witness tampering only in a negligible number of cases. A few basic guidelines were drafted to provide the witness a specific amount for the expenses made in conveyance and accommodation. Years later, in 1980 the gravity of the situation was highlighted in the 4th National Police Commission Report[vi], whereby it was observed that prosecution witnesses turning hostile because of pressure from the accused was increasingly common and there were not enough regulations to enable putting a check on manipulation of witnesses. The report also mentioned the inadequacy of the monitory compensation provided to witnesses. Despite the observations, no concrete provisions for witness protection laws were made until the 154th Law Commission Report in 1996[vii]; which dedicated an entire chapter to the facilities and protection given to witnesses.

The report also mentions that since witnesses have to incur the wrath of the accused, there is a need for a sense of confidence and security to be instilled in the mind of the witness by giving him adequate protection. The Committee recommended certain measures for fixing the monetary compensation given on a realistic basis, and the witness should be given due respect to remove all cause of anguish from their minds. However, there was no recommendation made with regard to the physical protection of witnesses or even suggest how witnesses could be protected from the wrath of the accused.

This lacuna was filled in by 178th Law Commission Report[viii] in 2001, which dealt with hostile witnesses and the precautions the police should take during investigation to prevent prevarication by witnesses when they are examined at trial.  The report suggested that the statement of a witness should be recorded by the police at the earliest. This was based on the presumption that a witness sticks to the truth in the initial stages of the case, but later changes the stand owing to threats or coercion. The report suggested taking the signature of a witness on his police statement and sending it to an appropriate Magistrate and a senior police officer, to ensure the witness does not go back on his statement. Further, the Committee proposed that if the original statement of the witness contradicts that made at the time of trial, it will be solely on the discretion of the trial judge to record the statement as evidence or not. Like all its predecessors, this report also did not suggest any measures for the physical protection of witnesses nor deal with the question of whether the identity of witnesses can be kept secret.

The Committee on Reforms of Criminal Justice System[ix], (Popularly known as the Malimath Committee 2003) was the first to expressly state that need of the hour to have a comprehensive law being enacted for protection of the witness and his family.  The report suggested over a hundred measures to ensure witness protection: physically, financially and legally. The Malimath Committee acknowledged the necessity to provide anonymity to the witness, and protect his immediate family from physical harm.

Despite the elaborate recommendations, there were no steps taken by the government, which eventually led to the 198th Law Commission Report in 2006,[x] which provided for procedural changes to protect witnesses inside and outside courtrooms. The report also included a draft law on witness protection, and called for the government to fund the program. Statutory witness protection laws of Portugal and New Zealand were referred to for drafting a similar law for India, but nothing concrete has taken shape till date.

In a 2004 order of the Supreme Court[xi], directions to all states and union territories were issued to give suggestions to formulate guidelines for witness protection. The Court observed that no law or scheme has been enacted by the Central Government, or any of the State Legislatures for protecting witnesses. It was pointed out that the conviction rate in India in criminal cases has dropped to 39.6%, pointing towards the necessity to have witness protection statues as criminals often have access to the police, bureaucrats and politicians.

The few practices adopted by Indian courts currently include transferring criminal trials to safer venues, preventing the accused from confronting a witness in court, allowing courts to use screens to separate the accused and survivor in rape trials, allowing the police to keep the identity of the witness confidential, prohibiting intimidating questions during cross-examination; and allowing witnesses to testify remotely by video. Presently, a person who feels the need for protection has three options at his disposal:

  • To approach the local police and ask for protection
  • To ask the High Court to issue a directive to the police to provide protection; by way of a writ petition.
  • To ask the trial court judge to order the police to provide security.

All these methods may seem to be fair on paper; however, the process for an individual to claim is long and tedious. For a common man to go running around a bureaucratic set up and police applications to get protection from probable threats by the accused is seen as a herculean task.

Witness protection laws in India vis-a-vis the global scenario

Countries like Hong Kong, South Africa, USA, Japan and Portugal have enacted statutory legislations for witness protection. These measures provide for a continuum of protection that starts with the early identification of vulnerable or intimidated witnesses, continues with the management of witnesses by the police and the enactment of measures to protect the witness’s identity during courtroom testimony, and culminates with the adoption in extreme cases of measures for permanent change of identity and relocation.

In the United States of America, witness protection first gained prominence in the 1970s, as a legally sanctioned procedure to tackle the Mafia-style criminal organizations. Key witnesses could not be persuaded to testify for the state and were lost to the concerted efforts of crime bosses targeted for prosecution. In 1970, the Organized Crime Control Act empowered the United States Attorney General to provide for the security of witnesses who had agreed to testify truthfully in cases involving organized crime and other forms of serious crime. Under the Attorney General’s authority, the Witness Security (WITSEC) Program[xii] of the United States ensures the physical security of at-risk witnesses predominantly through their resettlement to a new, undisclosed place of residence under a changed name and new identity details.

The major pre requisites for a case to be qualified under the WITSEC Program include the witness’s psychological profile and ability to abide by the rules and restrictions imposed by the programme. Additionally, the courts have been given the discretion to determine if the witness’s testimony is crucial to the success of the prosecution and that there is no alternative way of securing the witness’s physical safety.

Over the years, eligibility for coverage under the WITSEC Program has been extended from witnesses to Mafia-style crimes to include witnesses to other types of organized crime, such as those perpetrated by drug cartels, motorcycle gangs, prison gangs and violent street gangs.

Conversely, China felt the need for witness protection laws in late 1994, when the local police force set up an ad-hoc witness protection programme. In 2000, the Witness Protection Ordinance was enacted to provide the basis for protection and other assistance to witnesses and persons associated with witnesses. This single piece of legislation provides uniform criteria for the operation of the witness protection programmes established by the Hong Kong Police Force and the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). The Ordinance established a witness protection programme to provide assistance to persons whose personal safety or well-being may be at risk as a result of their being witnesses. The programme was implemented by the Witness Protection Unit at the Police Force, and by the Witness Protection and Firearms Section at the ICAC. A third unit is currently being established by the Customs and Excise Department. The Ordinance further authorizes officers to take necessary and reasonable action to protect the safety and welfare of witnesses who have been assessed or are being assessed for admission to the programme, including changing their identity details. The witness protection ordinance also established an appeal procedure against decisions that disallow inclusion of a witness in the programme, terminate protection or determine that a change of identity would not be among the applicable measures. Nothing in the legislation prevents a witness from challenging further a decision of the original authority or the review board by means of judicial review. The Chinese government has gone a step ahead and provided for penalties for the disclosure of information about the identity, location or any such information that may compromise the security of a witness.

Despite being a poorer country, South Africa has its witness protection laws at par with the developed nations. The 1996 National Crime Prevention Strategy recognized witness protection as a key tool in securing evidence from vulnerable and intimidated witnesses in judicial proceedings and acknowledged that witness protection was, at the time, a weak link in the criminal justice system. In 2000, Witness Protection Act was promulgated, replacing the old system. The new law established the national office for witness protection under the authority of the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development. The Act defines the types of crimes for which witnesses may request protection, the procedure to be followed and the persons eligible to apply. The list of offences is not exclusive as the Director in charge has the discretion to approve protection for a witness in respect of any other proceedings if satisfied that the safety of the witness warrants it.

The Act also provides that civil proceedings pending against a protected witness may be suspended by a judge in chambers under an ex parte application, to prevent disclosure of the identity or whereabouts of the witness or to achieve the objectives of the Act. Similar to the laws of Hong Kong, the South African model also defines offences and severe penalties for any disclosure or publication of information regarding witnesses.

As compared to these countries, in India it would appear that except rape cases, there are no general statutory provisions on this subject, in either the law of evidence or criminal procedure.  Different statutes have some provisions for witness protection Section 327 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 deals with ‘in camera proceedings’.  This section lays down that the inquiry into and trial of rape case shall be conducted out of open court. This would enable the victim to be more comfortable and answer the questions frankly, which could ultimately improve the quality of evidence of the prosecutrix or the victims.

In India, the Bengal Suppression of Terrorist Outrages Act, 1932 was one of the first statutes in India to have provision regarding protection of identity of witnesses. Section 31 of the Act empowered a Special Magistrate to exclude persons or public from precincts of the Court. It can be seen that protection of witness was considered a ground for exclusion of public from the Trial. However, it was only on the discretion of the Magistrate to exclude any person or public from the Court. Later, due to increase in terrorist activities the Government came up with Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Acts in 1985 and 1987. Sections 13 and 16 of the 1985 Act refer to protection of the identity and address of the witness and in camera proceedings. The Act states that proceedings may be held in camera, if the Special Court so desired, and the reasons for the same were to be recorded in writing.  Irrespective of the special provisions in a few legislations, India has n concrete provisions for witness protection like the other countries.

The lack of witness protection laws: violation of the right to fair trial

Law is a means to achieve the end of justice. This end can only be reached if the law is dynamic and changes with the transitions of society. Almost all democratic countries in the world guarantee to its citizens the right to freedom, equality and safety of their life and limb. Imbibed deeper into the concept of equality, is the right to fair trial. The Right to Fair Trial is considered to be a basic human right which is essential for the prevention of the abuse of all other human rights.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which India is a signatory, mention that right to a fair trial was a privilege every person is entitled to. Although the right to fair trial is not exhaustive as regards to the concerns of witness protection, however, it has been realised that in circumstances where the life, liberty or security of a victim/witness may be at stake, Contracting States to the ICCPR and the UDHR should organise their criminal proceedings in such a way that those interests are not unjustifiably imperilled.[xiii]

The right to fair trial and witness protection are not confined to criminal cases. In the case of Bulut v. Austria[xiv] the concept of ‘equality of arms’ was explained to be every party shall have a reasonable opportunity of presenting his case to the court under conditions which do not place him at substantial disadvantage vis-à-vis his opponent. Relying on this it is fitting to ascertain that a trial cannot be made fair by focusing only on the rights of the accused. According to Jeremy Bentham, “witnesses are the eyes and ears of justice”, as they play a very important role in ensuring an effective investigation of criminal proceedings – at times, providing the only available evidence. However, when witnesses fear reprisals, the risk of them not co-operating in the proceedings, defeat the very principle of a fair trial. Witnesses need to be given support not only in the course of the trial but also before the trial commences and afterwards.[xv]

In India, the right to a fair trial forms a part of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution, where each citizen, irrespective of caste, socio-economic status or educational background has an equal chance to be represented and exhaust all possible means to prove his innocence and the allegation made against the accused. It is the duty of the court to conduct a fair trial in a free and fair manner and pronounce a verdict on the basis of a record. A Judge is expected to strike a balance of fair trial by ensuring the accused gets a fair chance to defend himself and the victim is given an equal opportunity to prove the guilt of the accused.[xvi]

As held by the Supreme Court in State of Bihar v. Rajballav Prasad[xvii], the prime consideration before courts is to protect the ideals of a fair trial and ensure that justice is done. This would only happen when the witnesses are able to depose freely, without fear of harm. If any conduct of the accused is likely to obstruct a fair trial, the courts should exercise their inherent power so as to not let a guilty offender be acquitted.[xviii]

There have been numerous instances where courts have set aside bail applications of the accused on grounds of a fair trial, thus ensuring that the accused is not allowed to be at the liberty to tamper with the witness or evidence in a heinous crime.[xix] The Supreme Court has also observed that by not allowing the accused on bail, because it “would not be safe to permit him to be at large” in the light of the primary purpose of the Criminal Procedure Code, to ensure a fair trial to both, the prosecution and the victim.[xx]

To promote a fair trial, Indian courts have adopted myriad procedures to ensure that a witness is safeguarded. The business interests of a witness were protected by not publishing his evidence in court.[xxi] The court realised that the first time the witness testified, he suffered economic losses, and hence repudiated all the statements made by him subsequently. In this rare scenario, the court decided to safeguard the witness’s financial interest to obtain true evidence and do justice between the parties. Provisions like Section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code enumerate that while recording the statement of a witness, the investigating officer should familiarise the witness with the witness protection guidelines of the different courts. The officer should further explain in writing the procedure for a witness to apply for protection before a competent authority. This would ensure the witness is well aware of his legal position, and he can testify truthfully.[xxii]

The most common way to ensure a fair trial is to protect the identity of a witness. India has recognised the need for providing witnesses who inform about certain violent activities likely to affect the safety and security of a nation under Section 16 of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987. Courts are given express discretion to keep the identity and address of any witness secret as it deems fit. Withholding the identity of a witness solves the basic concern of the witness being unduly oppressed by the opposite side. To ensure anonymity to a witness, courts avoid mentioning the names of witnesses in its orders and judgements, or any other document that may be accessible to the public.[xxiii] At times, the entire proceeding of collecting evidence is held at a different location which only the defence and the court are aware of.  Similarly, courts have also started providing witnesses protection from the media, for the far of the witnesses being misquoted or unduly harassed. The judiciary observed that neither the court nor the government can ensure the ‘total safety’ of a prosecution witness. A witness deposing in a criminal case does so with a sense of public duty. The Court can however take steps to stop the dissemination of information regarding the identity and address of the witness ensuring that the name, address and identity of the witness are not given publicly in the media.[xxiv]

The Indian system is endeavouring to provide a safe environment for witnesses to assist the judiciary in ensuring justice, but to reach a point where each case is given a fair trial in India is still a long struggle.

Need for a legislation: the way forward

The issue of witness protection although overdue for reform, is quite complex. The Parliament cannot enact such a sensitive legislation at the blink of an eye, as it would have serious impact on the judiciary, as well as the economy of the country. It has been pointed out that there is an urgent need to introduce official witness protection laws, but implementing them would be an overwhelming task in an overpopulated country like ours with an understaffed police force. It is not viable for the police to guard every witness in every criminal case that is registered. It is estimated that approximately four to five lakhs are spent each year to guard a single witness. With the population of India surpassing all boundaries, there are only 136 policemen per one lakh people, compared to the sanctioned strength of 181 policemen per one lakh people. In such a situation when there are grave problems relating to enforcement of law and order, the understaffed police force acts as a hurdle when it comes to deploying a few members to exclusively guard a particular witness and/or his family. Developed nations like Canada, Japan and Italy have a much better ratio than India, where there are as many as 550 policemen deployed for each lakh people. The Indian Home Ministry reports suggest that spending such amounts on witness protection is not feasible when the country is plagued by greater evils like poverty and ill health. One way suggested by activists is to divert a part of the protection given to politician for witnesses in grave criminal cases. Politicians and bureaucrats enjoy large security covers, and a few policemen from each politician’s security troupe may be entrusted to guard witnesses.

Another point of concern for the courts is the differentiation of the gravity of each criminal case and determining which situation qualifies for the witness to be entitled to state protection. Cases of rape and murder are reported every day, and it would be a torturous task for Magistrates to bifurcate which criminal case demands immediate witness protection. It is undisputed that cases where the witnesses and the accused have a vast socio economic divide will warrant more coercion, but police reports suggest that a vast number of attacks on witnesses in criminal cases happen in rural India, which is largely ignored by the media.

In cases where the accused is a public figure, courts should be wary as it is quite easy for a witness to turn hostile when there is a considerable amount of political influence, muscle power and financial divide involved. Four broad suggestions have been articulated for the courts to consider while providing protection to a witness:

  • The cost of providing police protection to the witness and/or his family
  • The time period for which the witness should be provided protection
  • The nature of the investigation of the criminal case
  • The importance of the witness in the matter, in lieu of the information and evidence he provides.

Even when courts do provide protection there have been situations where the policemen entrusted with guarding the witness have criminal charges against them, or are susceptible to being influenced and being lax in their duties. The National Crime Records Bureau reported almost fifty thousand complaints against policemen in 2013. Judges have remarked that as custodians of the court, they can only order the police to guard the witness at all times. But that is not a long term solution, as a Judge cannot ensure the safety of the witness’ family at all times or provide an alternate identity to the affected victims and witness without a statutory law in place.

The scheme enacted by the Delhi government to ensure anonymity of the witness, or changing his identity if the need arises, installing security cameras around his place of dwelling, and providing escort vehicles to the witness is seen as the first step made by any government in this regard. The major recommendations demanded by forums for witness protection include physical protection, providing the witness basic facilities and allowances during the trial, and if the case is grave so as to affect a large section of society, the witness’s identity should be kept a secret, moreover, the witness should be given an alternative identity, and accommodation for a few years to keep the accused as far away from the witness as possible. Witness protection programmes similar to that of the United States should be introduced, where the government marshal service protects, relocates and gives new identities to crucial witnesses and their family members.

Holding in-camera trials, and keeping the identity of a witness secret has been successful in the limited number of cases that it has been applied so far in India[xxv]. In Sakshi vs. Union of India[xxvi], the Apex Court stated that sec. 327(2) applies to inquiry or trial of offences under sections 354 and 376 of IPC and has vast applications in rape and child abuse cases.

An unexplored angle to witness protection is that it is not always the accused that is at fault. In a country like ours, where the markets and polity are run by a few, many innocent people are prosecuted wrongly as well, and the influential party often bribes witnesses to wrongly testify against the accused, who may not necessarily be guilty. This is often seen in cases of dowry and domestic violence, where women wrongly accuse the husbands and in-laws for harassment and testify falsely in court. Similarly, concerns are raised that the fear of intimidation by the accused should not override the need for an open trial as well. If statutory witness protection laws are brought into force in India, there also need to be safeguards to prevent its misuse.

Conclusion

Witness protection has been discussed by Indian legislatures and the judiciary for over half a century. A few recommendations have been made; some have been enacted and put to practice, while others remain ignored. Governments have been elected and dissolved, crime has gone from physical to cyber, and it is high time that we wake up and act for the protection of the citizens who appear before the courts to testify so as to render a helping hand in the dispensation of justice.[xxvii]. If the law makers take colour from the statutes of countries which have successful witness protection laws, it will be a smoother way to initiate such a law in India. The Jessica Lal murder case, the Asaram rape case, the Salman Khan hit-and-run incident, the Best Bakery and Naroda Patia riots are incidents which shatter the strength of India’s justice system. It is undisputed that implementing a straight-jacket procedure for all cases would not be feasible in India, however, efforts need to be made to ensure that the needy are not left without a remedy, and the powerful do not abuse the legislation enacted in good faith.

References:

[i] Andre Gide, Le traite du Narcisse; 1891.

[ii] Raghuram Rajan; on 12th January 2016.

[iii] Sanjeev Nanda v. The State, 160 (2009) DLT 775.

[iv] Zahira Habibulla H. Sheikh and Anr. v. State of Gujarat and Ors., 2004 (4) SCC 158.

[v]14th Law Commission of India Report, Reform of Judicial Administration, Vol. II, 777, (1958), available at https://lawcommissionofindia.nic.in/1-50/Report14Vol2.pdf, accessed on 12/12/2016.

[vi]4th National Police Commission Report, 7, (1980), available at https://police.pondicherry.gov.in/Police%20Commission%20reports/4th%20Police%20Commission% 20report.pdf, accessed on 2/12/2016.

[vii]154th Law Commission of India Report, The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Act No. 2 of 1974), 43, (1996), available at https://lawcommissionofindia.nic.in/101-169/Report154Vol1.pdf, accessed on 12/12/2016.

[viii] 178th Law Commission of India Report, Recommendations for Amending Various Enactments, Both Civil and Criminal, 116, (2001), available at https://lawcommissionofindia.nic.in/reports/178rptp1.pdf, accessed on 7/12/2016.

[ix]Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, Committee on Reforms of Criminal Justice System, available at https://mha.nic.in/sites/upload_files/mha/files/pdf/criminal_justice_system.pdf, accessed on 11/12/2016.

[x]198th Law Commission of India Report, Witness Identity Protection and Witness Protection Programme, 8, (2006), available at https://lawcommissionofindia.nic.in/reports/rep198.pdf, accessed on 28/11/2016.

[xi]National Human Rights Commission v. State of Gujarat & Ors. (2009) SCC 342 SC.

[xii] 18 U.S.C. S. 3521 (a) (1) (United States).

[xiii] Doorson v. The Netherlands, (1996) ECHR 14, (1996, European Court of Human Rights).

[xiv] Bulut v. Austria, 17358/90, (1996, European Court of Human Rights).

[xv]Council of Europe Recommendation Rec (2005) 9, Protection of Witnesses and Collaborators of Justice, 1, (2005), available at https://www.coe.int/t/dghl/standardsetting/victims/rec_2005_9E.pdf, last seen on 30/11/2016; Council of Europe Recommendation R (97)13 concerning Intimidation of Witnesses and the Rights of the Defence, 1, (1997), available at https://www.coe.int/t/dghl/standardsetting/victims/recR_97_13e.pdf, accessed on 30/11/2016.

[xvi] Supra 13.

[xvii]State of Bihar v. Rajballav Prasad, Criminal Appeal No. 1141 of 2016 (Supreme Court, 24/11/2016).

[xviii]Talab Haji Hassan v. Madhukar Purushottam Mondkar, AIR 1958 SC 376.

[xix]Panchanan Mishra v. Digambar Mishra, (2005) 3 SCC 143.

[xx]Supra 20.

[xxi]Naresh Shridhar Mirajkar v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1967 SC 1.

[xxii]Neelam Katara v. Union of India; (2003) ILR 2 Delhi 377.

[xxiii]Kartar Singh v. State of Punjab, 1994 (3) S.C.C. 569.

[xxiv]Bimal Kaur Khalsa v. Union of India, AIR 1988 P&H 95.

[xxv]State of Punjab v. Gurmit Singh, 1996 (2) SCC 384.

[xxvi]Sakshi v. Union of India, 2003 (4) SCC 60.

[xxvii]Sanjeev Nanda v. The State, 160 (2009) DLT 775.

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