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Allahabad High Court Directs UP Govt, Its Authorities & Committees To Implement Witness Protection Scheme

Sparsh Upadhyay
17 Nov 2021 11:23 AM GMT
Allahabad High Court Directs UP Govt, Its Authorities & Committees To Implement Witness Protection Scheme
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The Allahabad High Court last week directed the Uttar Pradesh Government and all its concerned authorities/committees to implement the Witness Protection Scheme, 2018 forthwith.This direction came from the Bench of Justice Surya Prakash Kesarwani and Justice Vikas Budhwar that was hearing the plea of a petitioner, Mithlesh Narayan Tiwari, who is a witness in a 2018 Murder case, and...

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The Allahabad High Court last week directed the Uttar Pradesh Government and all its concerned authorities/committees to implement the Witness Protection Scheme, 2018 forthwith.

This direction came from the Bench of Justice Surya Prakash Kesarwani and Justice Vikas Budhwar that was hearing the plea of a petitioner, Mithlesh Narayan Tiwari, who is a witness in a 2018 Murder case, and his application for protection was rejected twice by the District Level Committee/Superintendent of Police, Prayagraj.

However, after High Court's October 05, 2021 order, the respondents started giving protection to the petitioner on dates fixed in the trial which shall continue till the conclusion of the trial. 

The Chief Standing Counsel also submitted that protection has been provided to the petitioner by order dated October 13, 2021, and he further informed the Court that the State Government had taken a decision to implement the Witness Protection Scheme, 2018 and has taken several steps and it is being fully implemented.

Against this backdrop, the Court, at the outset, referred to the Apex Court's ruling in the case of Mahender Chawla and Others Vs. Union of India and Others (2019) 14 SCC 615, wherein the Supreme Court, in December 2018, approved the Witness Protection Scheme, 2018, prepared by the Union of India and had directed it and all states and union territories to enforce the same in letter and spirit.

Read more about the Mahender Chawla case here: SC Approves Witness Protection Scheme, 2018; Directs Centre, States, UTs To Set Up Vulnerable Witness Deposition Complexes In Every District Within A Year [Read Judgment]

Further, the Court persued the affidavit filed by the Secretary (Home) stating therein that Standing Committee consisting of District and Sessions Judge (Chairman), District Magistrate (Member Secretary) and Senior Superintendent of Police/Superintendent of Police (Member) had been constituted in each district of Uttar Pradesh.

However, the Court noted that merely letters have been issued by the State Government, but the Witness Protection Scheme, 2018 was not being implemented in letter and spirit.

"It is only after the present writ petition was filed and an order dated 05.10.2021 was passed, only then the State respondents have given protection to the petitioner by passing the order dated 30.10.2021. This instance itself is sufficient to discern the truth that various circulars or letters being issued by the State Government are merely an eye wash and in truth the Witness Protection Scheme, 2018 is not being properly implemented by the State respondents," the Court observed while disposing of the plea directing the State to implement the Witness Protection Scheme.

In December 2020, the Allahabad High Court had issued notice to the UP Government on a PIL (public interest litigation) seeking effective implementation of the Witness Protection Scheme, 2018.

In September 2020, the Madras High Court had expressed displeasure over the non-implementation of the Witness Protection Scheme, 2018.

"Though the Witness Protection Scheme has been evolved in the year 2018, still the system is not providing confidence to the witnesses to come out with the truth as against the hard-core criminals", observed the Bench.

Case title - Mithlesh Narayan Tiwari v. State of U.P. and Another

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