Widen scope of Witness Protection Bill, HC tells state

December 22, 2015 12:00 am | Updated March 24, 2016 11:22 am IST - Mumbai:

The Bombay High Court on Monday asked the State government to consider including RTI activists and whistleblowers in the Maharashtra Witness Protection Bill.

The bill states that protection will only be provided to those witnesses who will depose in a trial for “serious offences” and where the accused is awarded “death penalty or life sentence”.

The draft of the Bill was submitted to a division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Gautam Patel by state counsel Nitin Deshpande.

The court has asked the state to look into widening the scope and definition of “serious offences” and also the punishment of “death or life sentence”.

The court has suggested that the ambit of the bill should also include protection of ‘police witnesses’ who not only depose in the higher courts but all those that come to the trial court. The State sought time to file its reply and adjourned the matter till February 8.

The court was hearing a suo motu (on its own) petition after Satish Shetty (38), RTI activist known for exposing land scams in Maharashtra, was killed.

Protection is only provided to those who depose in a trial for 'serious offences'

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