States could not reach a consensus on a bill on witness identity protection and witness protection programme, the Centre said in the Rajya Sabha Wednesday. Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, in written reply to a question, said police and public order are State Subjects under the seventh Schedule to the Constitution.
Therefore, the state governments are primarily responsible for prevention, detection, registration and investigation of crime and for prosecuting the criminals through the machinery of their law enforcement agencies, as also for protecting the life and property of the citizens including witnesses.
He said criminal law and criminal procedure are subjects in the Concurrent List of the Constitution. The minister said the Law Commission of India in its 198th report gave its recommendations on the ‘witness identity protection and witness protection programme’.
“Based on recommendations, the Bill was circulated to the state governments/Union territory administrations for their views. As there was no consensus among the states, the matter was referred to the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) on November 03, 2016 to examine the matter having regard to the observation of the states and feasibility of an implementable identity protection programme and support law so as to enable government to take a considered view,” he said.
The minister said BPR&D has also been requested to look into the financial implications as some of the states expressed reservation to spend any money and recommended the central government to fund the project.