HC seeks report from CBI on witness protection plea

The Delhi High Court has directed the CBI to file a status report regarding the threat perception to witnesses in the 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases involving senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: April 8, 2014 1:09 pm

The Delhi High Court has directed the CBI to file a status report regarding the threat perception to witnesses in the 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases involving senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar.

The court while hearing a PIL on the matter directed that necessary protection be provided to witnesses during the pendency of cases before the trial court.

Apart from the CBI,the court also issued notices to the Delhi and Punjab governments seeking their responses by September 18 on the PIL filed by ‘November 1984 Carnage Justice Committee’.

The PIL cited a list of witnesses in the two-anti Sikh riot cases and said,“Despite various judgments and orders passed by various courts,including the High Court and the Supreme Court,to the effect that witnesses should not be allowed to come under pressure of the accused and that it is the duty of the government to provide adequate protection to witnesses,the respondents have failed to abide by the same.”

Senior counsel H S Phoolka appeared for the petitioner and said the witnesses were not just scared but also lived in constant fear of death.

He referred to a recent judgment on witness protection issued in the Jessical Lal murder case and said the Delhi High Court had directed the government to frame a witness protection policy. But nothing was done in this regard,he said.

CBI counsel D P Singh,however,submitted that the witnesses were from the poor strata of society and the agency would like to file a status report in the case.

According to the PIL,the Punjab government had earlier provided security to the witnesses on CBI’s request. The plea further said the trial court had in July directed the Investigating Officer (IO) to provide his phone number to the witnesses but not directed the government to provide security to them.

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