PULWAMA — Chief Justice of J&K, Gita Mittal has said that the witnesses are ears and eyes of the criminal justice system and called for adoption of the witness protection facilities in all the district courts across the J&K.
The Chief Justice today visited the ‘Vulnerable Witness Deposition Room and Child Witness Room’ established at Court Complex Pulwama.
The District Court has planned to establish such facilities at all the subordinate courts over a period of time in compliance with the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court of India for the protection of vulnerable witnesses.
Gita Mittal said that it has long been recognized that children testifying as witnesses find the courtroom experience intimidating besides victims themselves and may be deterred from deposing fully and confidently in the formal atmosphere. She said that Deposition Centres will help to create a conducive and safe atmosphere for child and vulnerable witnesses.
Chief Justice said that this has been done in complying with the Supreme Court’s direction which is a positive step towards ensuring a conducive and protective atmosphere for vulnerable witnesses. This takes forward the principle already contained in laws relating to Protection of Children from Sexual Offences.
A vulnerable witness is less than 18 years of age. The witness examination facilities are such that the witnesses are kept away from the direct purview of the accused. However, the accused are given full opportunities to defend themselves.
Earlier on her arrival, the Chief Justice was given a guard of honour after which she interacted with the judicial officers, district administration and bar members.
District Magistrate Dr Rahgav Langer, District and Sessions Judge Pulwama, Muhammad Ibrahim Wani, SP Pulwama Ashish Mishra, judicial officers and bar members were present on the occasion.
Later on, Chief Justice reviewed the functioning of District as well as Subordinate Courts.
The District Principal and Sessions Judge, Muhammad Ibrahim Wani briefed the Chief Justice about the functioning of the district court and apprised her about the various issues as well.
While reviewing the functioning of the district court, she directed the judicial officers for speedy dispensation of justice so that common masses may not suffer.
Chief Justice also inspected the under construction residential quarters for judicial officers, lawyers’ chambers and exhorted for its early completion.
During the visit, she interacted with the members of the bar association, who put forth some issues related to their profession besides apprising her regarding their contribution as a fraternity.
The Chief Justice assured the bar members that the issues would be taken up with the district administration to solve them soon.
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