Vulnerable Witness Courtroom conceptualized to overcome barriers: Justice Mital

Jammu: The High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, under the aegis of Vulnerable Witness Committee (Constituted by Supreme Court of India), today organized a “Training Programme on Conversion of Court Room into VWDC” in association with Jammu & Kashmir Judicial Academy at Police Auditorium, Gulshan Ground, Jammu.
The programme was organized under the patronage of Justice N. Kotiswar Singh, Chief Justice, High Court of J&K and Ladakh and the Vulnerable Witness Committee for UT of J&K comprising of Justice Sanjay Dhar, Chairperson and Justice Mohammad Akram Chowdhary and Justice Rajesh Sekhri, Members. Justice Puneet Gupta, Judge, High Court of J&K and Ladakh and Justice Rahul Bharti, Judge, High Court of J&K and Ladakh were also present on the occasion.
The programme was organized for guidance of Judges and other stakeholders including Legal Aid Lawyers, Architects, Engineers who are associated with construction and alteration of Court buildings. The training programme was attended by Judicial Officers of all ranks, Legal Aid Lawyers, Architects, officers and Engineering staff of Department of Public Works (R&B) both physically as well as through virtual mode.
Justice Gita Mittal, former Chief Justice of High Court of J&K and Chairperson, Vulnerable Witness Committee (Constituted by Supreme Court of India) gave a detailed powerpoint presentation regarding the conversion of Court rooms into Vulnerable Witness Deposition Centres. She emphasized that the Vulnerable Witness Court room has been conceptualized and operationalized to overcome the several disadvantages and barriers confronted by vulnerable witnesses in conventional Court rooms.
She also underlined that the guidelines formulated lay down several stages from investigation to adjudication for the purpose of ensuring that the vulnerable witnesses feel safe and comfortable while deposing. She also exhorted that there is a necessity of maintaining an environment in the Courts which is suited to the best interest of vulnerable witnesses so that they are addressed and treated sensitively from their homes to and inside the vulnerable witness deposition complexes.
In his welcome address, Justice Sanjay Dhar, Judge, High Court of J&K and Ladakh and Chairperson, Vulnerable Witness Deposition Centre Committee, UT of J&K highlighted the importance of the Vulnerable Witness Deposition Centres as the safe places for witnesses of vulnerable nature so that they can depose fearlessly and without any pressure. He also stressed that there is a necessity for toning up the existing Courts so as to convert them into Vulnerable Witness Deposition Centre and also to upgrade the existing facilities which are functioning in J&K.
Justice Mohammad Akram Chowdhary, Judge, High Court of J&K and Ladakh and Members, Vulnerable Witness Deposition Centre Committee, UT of J&K in his vote of thanks described the witnesses and imperative aids and the eyes and ears of the Justice system. His Lordship also stressed that the stakeholders must respond proactively to the vulnerability aspects and the distinctive requirement of each vulnerable witness in an effective manner without any further delay.
The programme was marked by an interactive session where the participants raised queries which were satisfactorily settled.

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