The Supreme Court on Friday directed Uttar Pradesh and Haryana governments to provide "adequate security" to the witnesses in the alleged child rape case against godman Asaram Bapu.
"State of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana will provide full protection to the witnesses by providing adequate security to them," ordered the bench of Justice A.K.Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan.
"You must have scheme for the protection of witnesses. It is high time," it observed.
The court order came as counsel Utsav Bains appearing for the witnesses told the bench that Uttar Pradesh was doing nothing for their protection.
Petitioner Mahender Chawla and others have moved the top court for the framing of national witness protection guidelines, and an SIT probe into the murder of a witness.
Chawla is a witness residing in Haryana, while the other three witnesses - journalist Narender Yadav, Naresh Gupta and Karamvir Singh - live in Uttar Pradesh, Bains said.
Asaram, lodged in the Jodhpur Central Jail, is facing a trial under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor girl.
The 72-year-old spiritual leader was arrested on September 2, 2013 after the 16-year-old girl lodged a police complaint on August 20, 2013, accusing him of sexually assaulting her at his ashram in Jodhpur. He is jail since then.