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J&K gets its first Vulnerable Witnesses Deposition complex

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Srinagar, Mar 16: For ensuring a safe and comfortable environment to vulnerable witnesses including victims of child sexual abuse, a Vulnerable Witness Deposition Complex (VWDC) was Saturday inaugurated here at District Court Complex in Mominabad.

First of its kind in Jammu and Kashmir, VWDC was inaugurated by Chief Justice (CJ) of Jammu and Kashmir High Court, Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey. Four facility units and ATM were also inaugurated on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, CJ Gita Mittal said that VWDC has been established with the aim to improve the response of justice dispensation system to vulnerable witness. She hoped that such type of VWDCs are established in every district court of J&K in future.

She said each witness is unique and is to be handled accordingly. To respond to such needs, criminal justice system must turn proactive and sensitive and provide friendly environment, so that trial process is less traumatic and balanced. In this regard, she said, VWDC will prove to be of tremendous help.

It was informed that the VWDC houses separate witness room, separate accused room, play area for child witnesses, pantry, separate toilet and a comfortable waiting area. Besides, it is equipped with facilities of audio-visual exchange for interface between presiding judges, the witness and the accused, so that the vulnerable witness does not face the accused.

CJ Gita Mittal was accorded guard of honor and was welcomed by all the judicial officers headed by Principal District and Sessions Judge, Srinagar, Abdul Rashid Malik.

Later, during an interaction with judicial officers posted at district headquarter Srinagar, CJ Gita Mittal impressed upon them to ensure that all the old cases pending in the courts are prioritized for the disposal within shortest possible time.

She also impressed upon the judicial officers to ensure that every poor litigant is provided legal assistance so that his/her case is prosecuted properly and nobody feels marginalized. CJ Gita Mittal expressed that following uniform procedure in all the cases can result in casualty of justice, and can prove to be a barrier in ensuring access to justice.

It was also impressed upon the Judicial Officers to accord top priority to the cases involving senior citizens, women, children, old aged and marginalized section of the society.

Earlier, in an interaction with the lawyers, and members of Bar Association, CJ Gita Mittal was informed about various issues relating to infrastructure facilities.

She assured them that better facilities would be provided. “There is always need to do more and there is scope for more infrastructure development,” she said.

Justice Sanjay Kumar Gupta, Judge High Court of J&K, Principal District and Sessions Judge Srinagar, Abdul Rashid Malik, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Dr Shahid Iqbal Chowdhary, Chief Engineer Public Works (R&B), Sami Arif, officers of J&K Bank and other district officers and besides, Registrar General, Sanjay Dhar, Principal Secretary to CJ, Jawad Ahmad, Director Judicial Academy, Rajiv Gupta were also present on the occasion.


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