J&K Likely To Roll Out Witness Protection Scheme

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Srinagar: In a significant development, the administration of Jammu & Kashmir is likely to roll out a scheme for safeguarding vulnerable witnesses based on threat perception.

Sources said Friday that the government is likely to come up with a witness protection scheme to facilitate the protection of persons who are involved directly and indirectly in providing assistance to law enforcement agencies and overall administration of justice.

“The scheme has already been rolled out by different states. There have been discussions over it at different levels in UT. We are likely to notify it,” a senior official said, as per news agency KNO, adding that government will come up with a series of measures to be adopted to safeguard witnesses and their family members from intimidation and threats against their lives, reputation and property.

He said the protection will be provided to witnesses on a case to case basis depending upon their vulnerability and threat perception. “The witness protection measures will be proportionate to the threat for a specific period,” he said, adding that the measure will ensure improved convictions in criminal cases.

It is worthwhile to mention that in 2019 Jammu and Kashmir High Court framed a protocol for recording evidence of vulnerable witnesses.

It defines vulnerable witnesses as children below 18 years of age, victims of sexual violence, material witness in dangerous crimes and such other witness as may be deemed by trial court for reasons thereof to be record in writing.

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