Witness Protection

Mrinal Das v. State of Tripura, (2011) 9 SCC 479 observed, credible evidence even of a hostile witness can form basis for conviction in a criminal trial. It is a harsh reality, particularly, in those cases where accused persons/criminals are tried for heinous offences, or where accused persons are influential persons or in a dominating position, they make attempts to terrorize or intimidate witnesses because of which these witnesses either avoid coming to Courts or refrain from deposing truthfully. This unfortunate situation prevails because State has not undertaken any protective measures to ensure safety of these witnesses, commonly known as ‘witness protection’. The Witness Protection Scheme, 2018, which was drafted by Ministry of Home Affairs, was approved by this Court in Mahender Chawla v. Union of India, (2019) 14 SCC 615. A direction was given by this Court to Union of India and State Governments to strictly enforce The Witness Protection Scheme, 2018 [Ashwin Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India, (2020) SCC OnLine SC 1228].

Shakti Vahini v. Union of India, (2018) 7 SCC 192 directed Union of India and State Governments to take preventive steps to combat ‘honour crimes’, to submit a National Plan of Action and State Plan of Action to curb crimes of said nature. In interest of liberty and dignity of young men and women in choosing their life partners and in interest of peace, tranquility and equality in society, it is imminently necessary directions issued in Shakti Vahini should also be carried out by State Governments without any further delay.

Hon’ble Justice L. Nageswara Rao, Hari v. State of Uttar Pradesh, [Criminal Appeal No. 186 of 2018].