The Delhi High Court on Monday granted four more weeks to the city government to evolve a witness protection policy to ensure that witnesses are not harassed or intimidated by powerful accused in criminal cases.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Vibhu Bakhru asked the Delhi government to expedite the process after its standing counsel Pawan Sharma submitted that “further time is needed to come out with the policy”.
Mr. Sharma told the court that the process of implementing the policy was underway and a month was required to implement it.
Accepting the counsel’s submission, the bench posted the matter for August 8, 2013.
Earlier, on May 22, the High Court had observed that witnesses are “bulwarks” in a criminal case and had directed city government to frame within ten weeks the witness protection policy.
The bench had given the direction in its 103-page verdict directing prosecution of Bollywood actor Shayan Munshi and a ballistic expert for turning hostile in the sensational Jessica Lall murder case.
Ms. Lall was shot dead on the intervening night of 29-30 April, 1999 by Manu Sharma, son of the Haryana Congress leader Vinod Sharma after she refused to serve a drink to him at a late night party at socialite Bina Ramani’s restaurant Tamarind Court in South Delhi.
Mr. Munshi, who was serving liquor alongside Ms. Lall on the fateful night, had lodged the FIR and later allegedly retracted during the trial saying he did not know Hindi.