This was in response to a public interest litigation. The court had suo motu converted a media report on the murder of Pune-based RTI activist Satish Shetty into a PIL. Accepting the draft of the Maharashtra Witness Protection Act 2015, the bench comprising Justices Abhay Oka and  GS Patel invited the opinion of the amicus curiae DD Madon who said the Act covers only witnesses and not RTI activists and whistle-blowers.
    
Madon suggested that the Act should also cover these two categories, besides witnesses. Government pleader Nitin Deshpande informed that the State had decided to extend the scope of the Act to cover these categories, namely RTI activists and whistle-blowers.
    
The amicus curaie said that the power to give witnesses protection had been conferred upon the investigating agencies. Additionally, the powers to grant such protection should be extended to the presiding judges, he suggested.
    
The government pleader replied that the State would consider this suggestion. However, as a note of caution, he said that in case the order of granting witness protection is challenged in a higher court, the possibility of trial being stalled during the pendency of such litigation cannot be ruled out.
    
Madon further said that the proposed Act is applicable to cases in which offences are punishable with life or death sentences. This, he said, should be extended to all cases.

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