Law Relating to Witness Protection
Volume IV, Issue I, 2021
Right to fair trial has been recognized as the heart of Criminal jurisprudence and one of the most important facets of democratic polity. Fair trial is also recognized as one of the fundamental rights emanating from Article 21 of the Constitution of India (constitution”). It has been further acknowledged4 that denial of the fair trial amounts to a denial of human rights. Fair trial encapsulates, principles of fair prosecution, independent and impartial judiciary/ Judge, atmosphere of judicial calm, etc. Witnesses form key ingredients in a criminal trial, for it is the testimonies of the witnesses, which establish the guilt of the accused. The Indian Judiciary has, time and again, emphasized on the need for witness protection. In National human rights commission v. State of Gujarat and Ors. Hon’ble Apex Court duly acknowledged the importance of witness protection and highlighted the role to be played by the State in this regard. After exhaustively reviewing the laws, policies and precedents regarding witness protection in several parts of the world and lack of any such mechanisms in India. It is not quite uncommon that witnesses turn hostile during trial.