Media trial can cause prejudice against the accused: CJI

Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir on Saturday expressed grave concern over the growing practice of “media trial” and said it could prejudice against the accused.

“(Media trial) is a matter of grave concern. This should not happen,” Kabir told reporters on the sidelines of an East Zone Regional Judicial Conference on “Administration of Criminal Justice: Issues and Challenges” here.

“It (media trial) can prejudice against an accused in a case,” he said.
“The issue should be left to the courts to decide,” the CJI added.

In reply to a question on reducing the age of juvenile from existing 18 years to 16, the demand for which came from different corners in view of involvement of a juvenile in Delhi gang rape case, Kabir said, “It can be only done by Parliament and nobody else can do it.”
On the issue of witness protection, the CJI said there should be proper protection for witnesses.

“Witness protection should be there,” he said. Asked if he was satisfied with the level of witness protection now, Kabir said it should be more developed. Earlier, addressing the conference, Kabir said there was almost no concept of witness protection in the country.
“There is not even proper sitting arrangement for witness in courts. We are not providing even minimum facilities to witnesses,” he said.

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