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An Analysis of Victim Compensation Schemes in India

Sections 357 and 357-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 lay down the procedure for granting compensation to the victims of crime. Under the latter section, each state of the country is to set up a victim compensation scheme in consonance with the Central Victim Compensation Fund Scheme guidelines. At present, however, state schemes are vastly different from one another in terms of the number of categories under which a victim may apply for compensation as well as the amount of compensation prescribed under each category. Here, the author wishes to show that the resultant outcome of this is prejudicial to the interests of the victim.

By and large, when it comes to the subject of criminal procedure, the spotlight tends to be focused on the rights and dignity of the accused. For good reason, various safeguards are accorded to the accused so as to protect them from any excesses. However, in recent years, there has been a global awakening regarding the rights of victims, who remain neglected by lawmakers.

Amendments made to the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973 in 2008 as well as through the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2013, made a breakthrough in acknowledging the rights of the victim. Though one generally assumes compensation to be a remedy granted by civil courts and sentencing a function of criminal courts, Section 357 clubbed the two remedies together, thereby ens­uring that the victim would not have to approach two different courts, hence expediting the compensation ­process.

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Updated On : 10th Nov, 2020

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