Harsher penalty for hostile witnesses soon

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New Delhi, Feb 24 : Union Home Ministry plans to introduce a Bill to amend the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) so that more stringent penalty is imposed on witnesses who turn hostile.

The lack of teeth in the CrPC to tackle hostile witnesses is said to have brought about several controversial acquittals like those in the Jessica Lall and Priyadarshini Mattoo murder cases.

The issue of hostile witnesses hogged the limelight in the wake of public outcry over the acquittal of all the accused in the Jessica Lall murder case in a lower court.

Because of some high-profile witnesses retracting from their statements during the trial, there was inordinate delay in disposal of the cases.

As a way out, various panels set up to suggest police reforms have favoured better investigation by separating law and order duty of the police from investigation of cases.

Another Bill that the Home Ministry is keen on introducing in Parliament during the Budget Session beginning on Monday is the one to amend the Constitution so that the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council is included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

The Bill, introduced last year, was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee for scrutiny and the panel is expected to submit its report any time. The amendment is aimed at giving the council powers in matters like land, revenue and forests.

ANI

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