This Article is written by Raza (from Amity University, Lucknow)
Table of Contents
The principles of victimology have their foundations in Indian constitutional jurisprudence. The fundamental rights under Part III and the directive principles of state policy in Part IV of the Constitution of India form the safeguard for a new social order. The social and economic justice provided in Article 38 and Article 41, which directs the State to safeguard the right to public assistance in case of disablement and undeserved want, Article 51A which makes it a fundamental duty to have empathy for living creatures and to develop humanism.
The concept of the ‘Victim Compensation Scheme’ has got birth by Section 357A. Under this provision, even if the accused is not tried but the victim needs to be rehabilitated, the victim may request the State or District Legal Services Authority to award him/her compensation. This power to grant compensation is not supplementary to other punishments but it is in addition thereto. It is a measure of responding appropriately to crime as well as reconciling the victim with the offender.
In BalasahebRangnathKhade v The State of Maharastra, the court observed:
The criminal justice system has been created with the State at the centre stage. Law and order is the prime duty of the State. It cultivates peace and prosperity. The rule of law is to prevail for a welfare state to prosper. The citizens in a welfare State are expected to have their basic human rights. These rights are often violated. The law and order are breached.
- Every State Government in harmonization with the Central Government shall organise a scheme for offering funds for compensation to the victim or his dependents who have suffered loss or injury as a consequence of the crime and who require rehabilitation.
- Whenever a proposal is made by the Court for compensation, the District Legal Service Authority, or the State Legal Service Authority, as the case may be, shall decide the quantum of compensation to be awarded under the scheme referred to in sub-section (1)
- If the trial Court, after the trial, is satisfied, that the compensation awarded under section 357 is not adequate for such rehabilitation, or where the cases end in acquittal or discharge and the victim has to be re-established, it may make a recommendation for compensation.
- Where the criminal is not located or identified, but the victim is identified, and where no trial takes place, the victim or his dependents may make an application to the State or the District Legal Services Authority for an award of compensation.
- On receipt of such suggestions or the application under sub-section (4), the State or the District Legal Services Authority shall, after sufficient enquiry award adequate compensation by completing the enquiry within two months.
- The State or the District Legal Services Authority toease the suffering of the victim, may pass direction for an instant first-aid facility or medical benefits to be made accessible free of cost on the certificate of the police officer not below the rank of the officer in charge of the police station or a Magistrate of the area concerned, or any other interim relief as the appropriate authority deems fit.
The legislative intent of the Act
“It is a settled intention of the law that when a stringent application of the definition in a statute will frustrate the legislative intent of a particular provision or when the defined word is used and makes the provision unworkable, then recourse can be had to a different meaning. This alternative to a different meaning is intended by the legislature by using the legislative tool in the form of the words ‘unless the context otherwise requires’… To add meaning and life to Section 357A (4) CrPC, it is mandatory that the word ‘victim’. The word “victim” is described in Section 2(wa) in the Code of Criminal Procedure, and it means a person who has endured any loss or injury caused as a result of the act or omission for which the suspected person has been charged and the expression “victim” comprises his or her legal heir or guardian. Such an interpretation alone would make Section 357A (4) CrPC, workable, and have meaning.”
- Compensation Under Public Law: Article 32 or 226 of the Constitution seeksimplementation or protection of fundamental rights, it does so under the public law by way of penalising the wrongdoer and fixing the liability for the public wrong on the State which has failed in its public duty to protect the fundamental rights of the citizen.The maintenance of law and order is the fundamental duty of the State and under our Constitution, it is a state subject and tops the State List. No government worth the name can relinquish this function and put the life and autonomy, the hearth and the home of the citizen in jeopardy.
- POCSO Act– India is a party to UNCRC (United Nations Convention of Rights of Children. Hence the POCSO Act was enacted to guarantee a child-friendly procedure right from the stage of filing the report, as well as it fulfils the constitutional obligation of Article 15 (3), which talks about protection of women and children. The act has thefeature of giving out compensation to the victim. Section 33(8) states that in appropriate cases,in addition to the punishment, the Special Court may, direct payment of such compensation as may be specified.
- Delhi Victims Compensation Scheme, 2011- The government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi approved the following scheme to provide compensation to the victims or their dependent(s) who have incurreda loss. The amount of compensation, as decided by the Delhi Legal Services Authority, shall be paid to the victims and their dependent(s) who have incurred loss or damage or require rehabilitation as an outcome of the crime.
- The government in 2018 has introduced a Central Victim Compensation Fund (CVCF) scheme, with an initial corpus of Rs 200 crores, to enable aid to victims of rape, acid attacks, human trafficking and women killed or injured in the cross-border firing.
The compensation to a victim of crime is a matter of great importance, across the globe the situation of the victims of crime is no better. For quite a long time the victim was not a concern for traditional criminology. The function of compensation is uncomplicated, compensation serves to right what would otherwise count as unjust injuries to a person or their property. Indeed, the victim of any serious crime is not getting his due in the whole world. The court has envisioned the awards of compensation as an important approach not only to redress the violation but also a deterrent. Rehabilitation of the victim is the scope, purport and import of Section 357A (4) CrPC when read along with Section 357A (1) CrPC. This is more unambiguous when understood in the background of the recommendation of the 154th report of the Law Commission of India. Rehabilitation of the victim was a remedial measure. It remedied the weakness in the then existing provisions for compensating the crime victims, especially to those victims, whose perpetrators had not been traced. The provision is remedial. Remedial statutes or provisions are also known as welfare, beneficent or social justice-oriented legislation.
 Cr. Appeals 991, 992, 331 & 854/11.
P.P.M.Thangaiahv.The Government of Tamil Nadu, Writ Appeal No. 587 Of 2013.