Vulnerable Witness Centre starts at Chandigarh District Court

Y.S.Rana | June 10, 2019 06:01 PM

CHANDIGARH: In order to implement the guidelines contained in Witness Protections Scheme, 2018 and judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court dated 05.12.2018, Vulnerable Witness Centre has started functioning in District Court Chandigarh under the guidance of Mr Balbir Singh, Learned District and Sessions Judge, Chandigarh.
The purpose of the Centre is that a witness is able to give testimony without any pressure or fear. It aims to promote law enforcement by facilitating the protection of persons who are involved directly or indirectly in providing assistance to criminal law enforcement agencies and overall administration of Justice. Witnesses need to be given the confidence to come forward to assist law enforcement and Judicial Authorities with full assurance of safety. It is aimed to identify series of measures that may be adopted to safeguard witnesses and their family members from intimidation and threats against their lives, reputation and property. The application for seeking protection order under this scheme can be filed in prescribed form before the Competent Authority of the concerned District where offence is committed.
For the protection of the witness security devices can be installed at witness’s home, regular patrolling at witness’s house, temporary change of residence to a relative’s house or a nearby town, Escort to and from the court and provision of Government vehicle or a State funded conveyance for the date of hearing may be done if considered necessary.
In the Vulnerable Witness Centre at Chandigarh, there is a court room for the vulnerable witnesses connected with video conferencing, a side room having video conferencing from which the witness can see all the court proceedings, a room for the accused wherein he/she get access through the microphone as well as intercom to communicate with his lawyer. Since accused and victim are in different rooms which are connected with video conferencing, they cannot see each other physically but can only see each other through screen. People outside cannot see the proceedings which are being conducted in the Centre. A separate room is also there with toys and furniture where the children, witnesses and their family members can wait, play, rest and comfortably sit.

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