Guidelines issued by Delhi High Court
for Courts to record evidence of children. These guidelines
are in force across Delhi
and all criminal courts are bound to follow them.
These guidelines provide remedy for all the possible problems witnesses face in criminal cases and take care of concerns we all face while assisting children in criminal proceedings.
Here are some key features of these guidelines :
*A child who has not completed 18 years of age is to be treated as ” Vulnerable
*Practice of “Court House Tour” has been introduced which means that a
pre-trial tour of court room will be conducted to familiarize a vulnerable
witnesses with the environment and the basic process of adjudication and
roles of each court official. *
*These guideline have recognised Stress causing factors of adversarial Criminal Justice System which cause stress on *
*child witness, rendering them further vulnerable witnesses,* *and impeding complete disclosure by the.
These factors include Multiple depositions and not using developmentally appropriate language; Delays
and continuances; Testifying more than once; Prolonged/protracted court proceedings; Lack of communication between professionals including police,doctors, lawyers,prosecutors, investigators, psychologists, etc. ;
Fear of public exposure; Lack of understanding of complex legal procedures;
Face to face contact with the accused; Practices are insensitive to developmental needs;Inappropriate
cross-examination; Lack of adequate support and victims services;
Sequestration of witnesses who may be supportive to the child;
Placement that exposes the child to intimidation, pressure, or continued abuse; Inadequate preparation for fearless and robust testifying;
Worry about not being believed especially when there is no evidence other than the testimony of the vulnerable witness;
Formality of court proceedings and surroundings including formal dress of members of the judiciary and legal personnel.