Witness Protection: An Imperative for Criminal Justice

AuthorDaniyal Qureshi
Published date01 October 2021
Date01 October 2021
Subject MatterReview Essay
Witness Protection: An
Imperative for Criminal
Daniyal Qureshi1
India is one of the few democracies in the world that does not have a witness
protection law in spite of such high crimes rates. The incompetence of the
bureaucratic setup of democracy condemned the criminal justice system to being
reduced to a mere namesake. This article attempts to provide an understanding
of the condition of a witness in the criminal justice system. Without any witness
protection laws, the courts have suffered from having to afford security and
protection to the citizens that present themselves to testify before the court.
Witnesses turn hostile in such a large number of cases and are exposed to threats
and manipulation in the course of any criminal proceedings. The legislative efforts
in the past have largely failed to provide any solution to this problem.
While it is undoubtedly contented that witness protection is non-dispensable
for a fair trial, this article explores the avenue of whether witness protection
could be a judicial function. While most jurisdictions across the world run witness
protection programmes through the executive, these programmes are wildly
transparent and directly answerable to the government. However, in India, given
the vast population of the land and the already available infrastructure of the
courts and the concerns regarding a full-fledged witness protection programme
expressed by various sources from the government over time, it takes considerable
deliberation to vest power in the judiciary for an efficient criminal justice system.
Nonetheless, at present, the 2018 scheme of witness protection is the only
legislative entity available to the criminal justice system which is inexecutable and
offers little relief to the problems.
Witness protection, fair trial, fundamental rights, criminal justice system
Review Essay
Journal of Victimology
and Victim Justice
4(2) 197–208, 2021
2022 Rajiv Gandhi National
University of Law
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/25166069211069698
1 Symbiosis Law School, Pune, Maharashtra, India.
Corresponding author:
Daniyal Qureshi, Symbiosis Law School Pune, Maharashtra 411014, India.
E-mails: daniyalqureshi@gmail.com; 18010126117@symlaw.ac.in

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