The Witness Protection Scheme-2018 is India's first ever scheme initiated by the Union Home Ministry on the call received from 18 States and Union Territories, five state legal services authorities and open sources including civil society, three high courts as well as from police personnel.
The Witness Protection Scheme 2018 was finalised in consultation with National Legal Services Authority (NALSA). The scheme aims to ensure that the investigation, prosecution, and trial of criminal offenses does not turn out to be biased as witnesses are intimidated or frightened to give evidence without protection from violent or other criminal recrimination.
The Witness Protection Scheme-2018 was approved by the Supreme Court on 5th December 2018.
Witness Protection Scheme-2018 features include identifying categories of threat perceptions, preparation of a ‘Threat Analysis Report’ by the head of the police, protective measures like ensuring that the witness and accused do not come face to face during probe, protection of identity, change of identity, relocation of witness, witnesses to be apprised of the scheme, confidentiality and preservation of records, recovery of expenses etc.
Witness Protection Scheme-2018 identifies “three categories of witnesses as per threat perception”:
Category A: Those cases where threat extends to the life of witness or family members during the investigation, trial or even thereafter.
Category B: Those cases where the threat extends to safety, reputation or property of the witness or family members during the investigation or trial.