Chief Justice Gita Mittal Saturday 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 J&K.
She said this while visiting the Vulnerable Witness Deposition Room and Child Witness Room established at the Pulwama Court Complex.
The District Court has planned to establish such facilities at all 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.
Justice Mittal said that it had long been recognised that children testifying as witnesses find the courtroom experience intimidating besides victims themselves may be deterred from deposing fully and confidently in the formal atmosphere.
She said that the Deposition Centres would help create a conducive and safe atmosphere for child and vulnerable witnesses.
The Chief Justice said that this had been done complying with the Supreme Court’s direction which was a positive step towards ensuring a conducive and protective atmosphere for the vulnerable witnesses.
She said this also takes forward the principle already contained in laws relating to Protection of Children from Sexual Offences.
Justice Mittal said that a vulnerable witness was one who is less than 18 years of age.
She said the witness examination facilities were such that the witnesses are kept away from the direct purview of the accused but 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, 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, the Chief Justice reviewed the functioning of the 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.
Reviewing the functioning of the district court, the Justice Mittal directed the judicial officers for speedy dispensation of justice so that common masses do not suffer.
The Chief Justice also inspected the under construction residential quarters for judicial officers and lawyers chambers and exhorted for its early completion.
During her visit, she interacted with the members of the Bar Association who put forth some issues related to their profession besides apprising her about 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.