The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday directed the State government to instruct all investigating officers in criminal cases against MPs, MLAs, and MLCs to take measures to ensure the protection of witnesses as per the witness protection scheme.
The court also said that investigating officers should inform witnesses about the availability of the witness protection scheme and tell them that protection can be sought by making an application in the prescribed form to the member-secretary of the competent authority set up under the scheme.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice S. Vishwajith Shetty issued the direction while hearing a PIL petition initiated suo motu to monitor the progress of 162 criminal cases pending before the special court set up exclusively to try criminal cases against MPs, MLAs, and MLCs.
The Bench also said that investigating officers should also assess the vulnerability/threat perception of witnesses and file applications on their behalf and bring the matter to the notice of the special court. Even the special court should apply its mind on the requirement of protection and issue the necessary direction to the State government, it said.
Observing that it was the duty of the government to ensure that a very competent person is appointed as public prosecutor in cases against MPs, MLAs and MLCs, the Bench directed the government to submit details of the persons appointed and the process followed in making the choice of public prosecutor.