SC judge recommends more vulnerable witness rooms

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New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) More and more states should establish vulnerable witness rooms in their courts, Justice Madan B. Lokur of the Supreme Court said on Tuesday.

Justice Lokur’s recommendation came while inaugurating a vulnerable witness deposition complex in one of Asia’s biggest courts complexes, the Tis Hazari district courts in New Delhi.

The ceremony was presided over by Delhi High Court Chief Justice G. Rohini.

High court judge Justice Gita Mittal and other members of the legal fraternity were also present.

Tis Hazari became the third complex in Delhi to be equipped with a vulnerable witness deposition complex after Karkardooma and Saket courts.

Justice Lokur said it was a great achievement and the situation for witnesses has improved significantly due to this.

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“This concept is spreading to other parts of the country and more states should come with vulnerable witness rooms,” he said.

Chief Justice G. Rohini said: “Eyewitnesses or victims turning hostile is one of the important factors for many cases ending in acquittal.”

She said witnesses turning hostile may be due to threats, coercion, monetary consideration and political clout.

“If the witness himself/herself is incapacitated from acting as eyes and ears of justice, the trial gets paralysed and it no longer can constitute a fair trial,” Chief Justice Rohini said.

“Testimonies of the witnesses form an essential ingredients in a criminal trial.”

“Any witness who has been subjected to threats of violence or retribution in connection with the proceedings can be termed as a vulnerable witness and it is the duty of the state to extend protection to such witnesses from intimidation or physical harm that the criminal groups may adopt to dissuade them from giving evidence,” she said.

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