New Delhi: In a first, the Delhi Government today notified a policy to bring in a witness protection programme to ensure protection of witnesses in "crucial" cases.
The Delhi Witness Protection Scheme "envisages categorisation of witnesses, creation of witness protection fund, types of protection and procedure for processing such request by the competent authority," read a statement issued by the Home Department.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted:
Witness protection scheme notified by delhi govt. Delhi becomes the first state to do that- Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) July 30, 2015
India has no comprehensive witness protection programme, and on many occasions, key witnesses in criminal cases have been found murdered.
In 2013, the Delhi High court had directed the government to frame a witness protection policy to provide guidelines and principles which the police, prosecution and executive agencies will have to follow.
"After much deliberation, it was decided to have a comprehensive policy for protecting witnesses," the government's statement today read.
According to the statement, Home Department constituted a sub-committee comprising officers of Law Department (Home department), Directorate of Prosecution and the Delhi Police.
"Subsequently, DSLSA (Delhi State Legal Services Authority) was included in the process," the statement said, adding that during deliberations, "all aspects relating to witness protection and practices adopted worldwide were studied".