Law and Order Current Affairs - 2019

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New Delhi Police Headquarters inaugurated

A new building of Police Headquarters (PHQ) was inaugurated by the Union Minister of Home Affairs Shri Amit shah. The officers and Jawans of Delhi Police Wing are getting a new building headquarters after 70 years. The building was opened on October 31, 2019 to commemorate Sardar Vallabhai Patel’s birth Anniversary.

About the building

  • The PHQ is unique in its implementation as the plans were under taken on a public private partnership mode
  • It was built at a cost of 286 crores
  • It has 18 floors that are designed to accommodate control rooms, conference rooms, communication centres, etc.

Significance

  • Police forces are important for stable law and order in the country.
  • The contributions and sacrifices made by the Police officers are seldom highlighted. Also, a kind of negative protection demoralizes the police force. To change this image, GoI had developed National Police Memorial in New Delhi that chronicles the sacrifices of over 34,000 officers and jawans who laid their lives for the country.

Delhi Police

  • 25% of the Delhi Police Force is earmarked for VVIP security
  • It comes under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Home Affairs and not under Government of Delhi.
  • They are deployed close to PM residence, Rashtrapthi Bhavan, Residence of ministers, MPs, judges, etc.

SC approves Centre’s Witness Protection Scheme

Supreme Court has approved Witness Protection Scheme 2018 and directed Union and State Governments to enforce the same.  This scheme was framed by Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in response to PIL seeking protection for witnesses.

Key Facts

The apex court held that scheme will become law under Article 141/142 of Constitution till enactment of parliamentary and state legislations on the subject. It also directed states/UTs to set up the vulnerable witness deposition complexes (VWDCs) within period of 1 year (by the end of 2019). It also observed that there is paramount need to have witness protection regime in statutory form. The main reasons for establishing these VWDC is  large percentage of acquittal in criminal cases is due to witnesses turning hostile and giving false testimonies, mostly due to lack of protection for them and their families.

Witness Protection Scheme 2018

It has been formulated by Home Ministry on the inputs received from 18 States/UTs, five state legal services authorities and open sources including civil society, three high courts as well as from police personnel. It was finalised in consultation with National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).

It aims to ensure that investigation, prosecution and trial of criminal offences does not turn out to be biased as witnesses are intimidated or frightened to give evidence without protection from violent or other criminal recrimination.

Essential features

  • Identifying categories of threat perceptions
  • Preparation of Threat Analysis Report by the head of police
  • Confidentiality and preservation of records, recovery of expenses, etc.
  • Types of protection measures like ensuring that witness and accused do not come face to face during investigation etc. protection of identity, change of identity, relocation of witness

Three types of witnesses categorises

  • Threat extends to life of witness or his family members during investigation, trial or thereafter.
  • Threat extends to safety, reputation or property of witness or his family members, during investigation, trial.
  • Threat is moderate and extends to harassment of witness or his family member’s, reputation or property during investigation, trial or thereafter.

Categorised witnesses under the scheme can file application for seeking protection order before competent authority of concerned district where offence is committed. This competent authority will be chaired by District and Sessions Judge. Head of police in the district will be its member and head of prosecution in the district as its member secretary.

When this authority receives application, it has to call for Threat Analysis Report (TAR) from ACP/DSP in charge of the concerned Police Sub-Division. The authority is also empowered to order protection measures based on TAR such as identity protection, change of identity and relocation of witnesses.