Victim compensation and its statutory provision

Victims are the most neglected part of the every administrative justice so there is emergence of the concept of the victim compensation. The criminal process and administration of criminal justice often ignore the loss and injury that the victim suffers from. It is the idea adopted from the approach of therapeutic jurisprudence. The idea of the victim compensation is to have reform and treat offenders from having re-socialization and re-assimilation in the social mainstream from which they were affected and resulted in deviation from it.

Earlier, there was the concept that the victims assumed to be satisfied when the punishment and sentences were given to the accused but that was not the case. They too felt that the system amounts to be seem as unjust, unfair and inequitable. Therefore, changes were adopted. But the scenario of India is seen, there is neither a comprehensive legislation nor a statutory scheme that looks through the provision of the victim compensation. The victim compensation is also discretionary power where all injustice results in. This is also an inadequate way to treat the victim of the offence.

Indian Penal Code

Through the interpretation of the Indian Penal Code, there result too many types of the injuries. The loss can be physical, mental, or psychological and so on. And it can be studied that this injury or loss are no clearly for the victim. So, this acts as unwise, therefore the law commission had recommended that there should be insertion of such compensation scheme. It said that whenever a person who is convicted of the punishment as mentioned under certain chapter like Chapter XVI, Chapter XVII and so on of the Indian Penal Code will make the accused liable for the compensation that is to be given to the victim. It also stated that the compensation will depend upon the loss or injury that was caused to the victim by the offender and it depends upon the case to case.

It was also stated in the Indian Penal Code in its section 70A that the compensation shall not be necessarily be monetary but it can be of any kind which can sufficiently recompense to the injured party. But it is a duty of the court that the alternative of monetary compensation is implemented properly. 

Through the Indian Penal Code, it can be seen that there are two substantive provisions which recommend in governing the payment of the compensation by the offender, and the victim can get compensation for the injury caused to them or any loss suffered by them. There are mainly two approaches for the payment of the compensation and the first approach is by the compensating a convict out of the fine imposed upon the committing of an offence. Such approach can be applied on the offences on human body, property, or of the case of defamation or abetment. The second approach favors that for the victim compensation; it should be additional and not be part of the punishment guideline in the particular code.   

The code of Criminal Procedure

In section 357 of the Crpc states that the court can impose a sentence of fine for the payment to the victim for their injury or loss that has been caused to them. The section also covers the provision for the claim of the compensation when there is pecuniary loss incurred is a person. This section also states that the compensation will also depend upon the quantum of damages in a suit. The section also mention that the court duty is to take into account the nature of the crime, the  injury suffered or the capacity of the accused to pay and all such relevant circumstances.

Section 358 of the Crpc also empowers a court to award compensation to any person for any loss or injury caused by an offence to in those cases where the provision of the fine is not covered. It should not be excessive, having regard to the circumstances of the case like motivation of the offence, pecuniary gain likely to have been made by the offender and his means to pay the fine.

Prevention of offender Acts

The particular act is mostly seeks to prevent the youthful offenders into dangerous or obdurate criminals. This act is also mainly focus on the reformation and rehabilitation. In the act, the release of the offender can be done through due admonition or based upon the probation of good conduct. So, under the section 3 and 4 of the act provides the concept of reasonable compensation which is given to the person who has suffered any loss or injury from the offence. And section 5 of the same act gives the power to the court so that the requirement of the compensation by the offender can be regulated.

– Shreya

Symbiosis Law School

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