India’s first child witness court room (CWCR), designed to present a friendly image of courts for child witnesses, was today inaugurated at the Karkardooma courts complex.
The CWCR has been opened to help children, who are sometimes witnesses in cases pertaining to sexual offences, to depose freely in the court.
The inauguration was done in the presence of justice Altamas Kabir of Supreme Court, Delhi High Court Acting chief justice AK Sikri, chairperson of the programme justice Gita Mittal and justices Reva Khetrapal and GP Mittal.
Besides them other judicial officers of the trial courts, including district judges Sunita Gupta and PS Teji, were also present on the occasion.
The new court room will be functional on the sixth floor of the court building. It has been designed with the objective to provide child witnesses an environment conducive for them as against the usual tense atmosphere of the court.
The court room will look no less than a child play area filled with toys, books, It will have coloured walls and a small pantry. The room will also have a one-way mirror window from where the child would not be able to see the accused.
While the accused will sit separately, child witnesses along with attendants will be seated near the judge. The judge’s dais, which is usually 4-5 ft high from the ground, has also been lowered to make them feel comfortable.
The child will also have a separate entrance to the sixth floor court room. He/she will be taken to the court room through a separate lift which is used only by judges.
Justice Kabir welcomed the inauguration of CWCR, which has been taken in compliance with the directions of the high court committee to monitor proper implementation of guidelines laid down by it and by the Supreme Court for dealing with cases of sexual offences and child witnesses.
Speaking at the function, Justice Kabir said this step will prove beneficial in the future and improvements will be made in this initiative after further study.
Underlining the importance of CWCR, Justice Mittal said it will help in rape cases involving minors where the offender is known to the victim.