Author : Qaisar Fahad, Student at Lloyd Law College, Greater Noida.
Victim compensation is one of the major aspects in reparation or restoration of the harm or injury caused to the victim due to the commission of the crime. Monetary assistance in one-way or the other has always benefitted the victims in the diminution of their sufferings.
When an incidence happens, and an offender commits an offence or crime ,and as we know crime is against a society and state, so state takes the responsibility to register the case , cops apprehends the offender and judiciary while preserving the sanctity of justice by keeping in view all the legalities, the degree of offence , evidences and rights of person even of the offender , gives his judgement, with a view of reforming the offender so that when he comes back to live in the society after completing his sentenced punishment, he is fit for the society and will no longer disturb the peace of society by committing any offence.
As we see the justice providing system has become more offender centric, as offender has become the centre of focus in all the proceeding for doing justice but in all this the victim, the real sufferer of the incidence is left behind , everyone thinks the only interest of the victim is the punishment of the offender. But is that so ? No, victim carries a legitimate expectation for the state to catch and punish the guilty and to compensate the aggrieved for all the sufferings which he has suffered. Even in the situation when the system of justice fails to identify the accuse or fall short of evidences in collecting and presenting for the for the ensurement of appropriate sentencing of the guilty.
HISTORICAL EVOLUTION IN VICTIM COMPENSATION LAW IN INDIA
- In ancient times in India victim offender mediation was very common between the people. Tribal courts ensured justice to the victim by punishing the offender to provide compensation as Offender compensates victim in order to buy back the peace he had broken ,and also to protect himself from the violent retaliation of victim, as at that time the justice system was on revenge based.
- After that manusmriti, arthshastra and other religious books provided the laws for the victim compensation.
- In medieval period victim compensation was don by Islamic laws
- It was when Britisher came ,the very first case of restitution can be seen in section 545 of code of criminal procedure. the principal aspect of the victim support and assistance was compensation for injuries which was an important part of ‘right to life’ .
- After the need for a statutory law made “sec 357 of the code of criminal procedure 1973” which made an obligation on states to provide compensation to victims.
- After that many committees like malimath committee, various law commission reports and various court case has added to victim compensation law.
PURPOSE AND NEED OF VICTIM’S COMPENSATION
victim needs compensation an immediate monetary relief for his rehabilitation, for all the sufferings, and also so that he can use it to pay for expenses of the problems which he got from the unfortunate incidence,
- compensation the medical expenses.
- compensation the litigators fees.
- compensation in case of death to family member .
- compensation for constitutional injuries.
- Compensation for medical negligence.
- Compensation for sexual assault.
- compensation for medical expenses –
When an incidence happens in which victim is injured physically or mentally damaged he not only want money from the offender to punish him but needs the money to pay for all the medical expenses. And even the honourable supreme court of India has cited that victims should be provided with medical compensation for victim’s rehabilitation like in the case of “ Laxmi v. U.O.I and others ” where supreme court took into the consideration on the medical and rehabilitative needs of victim of acid attack it was decided by the supreme court that acid attack victims should be given at least three lakh as compensation.
- Compensation for the litigator fees
This is a relief which a victim should get as these days good litigator’s takes a hay amount of fees and if the victim is already suffering financially then he should be provided with the litigator’s fees of a reasonable amount.
- Compensation in case of death to family member
when the victim, a member of a family dies it is the family members, his kith and kin who should get the compensation as they have to go through the trauma of the loss of a family member, they have to take care of the medical expenses as well as the last rites expenses, and if that family member was the sole bread earner of the family then it will affect them very heavily so they should be compensated for all of that.
- Compensation for constitutional injuries
Supreme court for the first time in case Rudal shah v. state of Bihar laid down that compensation should be provided in case of infringement of fundamental rights under article 32, and the upper courts have the authority to do so.
After that writ petitions have been filled in India by victims under article 31and 226 to get compensation.
- Compensation for medical negligence
These days people are more aware of there rights and they know that there are punishment as well as compensation for negligence in profession like mediacl negligence, if the doctor treats someone negligently and because of that victim suffers then he can sue the doctor.
In case of “ Poonam Verma v. Ashwin Patel ” where she was registered as a homeopathy but she prescribed allopathy medicine to her patient and because of her negligent act the patient dies, court held her guilty made her to pay compensation to the patients wife.
- Compensation for sexual assault.
A victim of rape has to suffer from many things like physical injury, mental shock, trauma , post traumatic stress disorder ,sometimes pregnancy and child birth due to the offence and all the humiliation by the people of society because in India a raped woman is looked down upon even though she is the victim not the offender. In the court trial if the judgement punishes the accused one and asks him to pay compensation the judgement does not favour her, it is her right as her position will not be restored. So it becomes important to compensate victim.Such victims right comes from article 21 of constitution of india.
Even in case “ Bodhisattwa Gautam v. miss Shubhra Chakraborty ” it was decided by court that court provide even interim compensation even if trial is not complete and verdict has not been given.
WHO SHOULD COMPENSATION BE PROVIDED
Compensation should be provided by accused as he is the one who is responsible for the sufferings of the victim.
But in case If the victim is not able to receive adequate compensation from the accused due to some circumstances, as the accused is not well off to pay or the case procedure took too long, or the accused is not found guilty or the offendor is not traced or identified but the victim is known in that context state needs to come into the picture and provide adequate amount of compensation for the victim’s rehabilitation. Since state failed to provide protection to victims basics rights. As recommended by “Malimath committee” in its report of
We come to the conclusion, that the machinery of justice providing should not become offender centric, or the offender should not only be the centre of focus in the machinery of justice giving ,as it is expected to keep in mind his rights and his reformation, but victim should not be left out of the thought as he is the real sufferer and he is the one who need more the healing touch and support in the justice system and for that , adequate compensation should be provided to him as soon as possible.
While giving compensation all kind of needs of victim like, its medical expenses, its litigator fees, as well as all sufferings which victim has suffered should be kept in mind while providing the compensation.
State should while providing compensation or making bodies which provides compensation should keep in view all the suggestions and recommendations given in various reports and judgements by various bodies like law commission and courts.
If the victim is not able to get adequate compensation due to any circumstances then state should provide compensation to the victim.