Taking cognizance of the release of the full names and addresses of 15 public witnesses in the Delhi riots case by the special cell of Delhi police in the chargesheet filed by it, a Delhi court has restrained the dissemination and circulation of these protected witnesses.
The court held the investigating officer responsible for releasing names of protected witnesses, and directed the investigating agency to provide them “comprehensive safety and security”.
The riots in February 2020 led to 53 deaths, serious injuries to hundreds, and destruction of property worth hundreds of crores, and attempts were made to hide the identities of the witnesses – the chargesheet used pseudonyms whenever their statements were quoted.
Upon perusal of the case, ASJ Rawat wrote: “In view of the court, there is a mistake on the part of the investigating officer (IO) and since the purpose of giving protection to the identity of the protected witnesses is for fair trial and for specific protection to the witnesses, hence, the immediate protection orders are required to be passed. The sole idea is to protect the identity of the witnesses and to ensure their safety and security.”