Criminal Victimization and Administration of Criminal Justice in India

Akash Saroha[1]

“Justice requires that we work to restore those who have been injured”

The primary function of the criminal justice system is to protect the rights of the individual and society from the criminal acts by punishing the violator of law.  In India the criminal jurisprudence is based on the principles that it is better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent man be wrongly convicted and every person is innocent till proven guilty. In India, the main focus is to protect the rights of accused and we forget the sufferer of the crime i.e. victim. Nobody cares about the situation of victim faces; the main focus is that the accused should have all his rights. When that accused is found guilty after a long procedure than that person is sent to jail for reform and court direct all the states that they provide all necessary facilities and ensure that all human rights of the convicted be protected. Due to this overhyped sympathy towards accused, the victim is neglected completely.

Perhaps the criminal justice system is arbitrary and operates to the disadvantage of the victims. As stated by the Justice Krishna Iyer in Rattan Singh v. State of Punjab[2]  

“It is a weakness of our jurisprudence that victims of crimes and the distress of the dependants of the victim do not attract the attention of law. In fact, the victim reparation is still the vanishing point of our criminal law. This is the deficiency in the system, which must be rectified by the legislature.”[3] 

Criminal victimization may be defined as causing the victim to be treated unfairly or made to feel as if he is in a bad position.

The victim always remains in terror, fear and in self-blaming guilt for the suffering of his family. The family members are taken over by an unnamed and undefined fear and also the tunnel vision thinking of society also affects them. In rape and child sexual abuses cases the situation became worsen. Everybody tries to point out the fault of the victim. They question the conduct of victim and his family. When a small child became a victim of any crime then his age of playing is now only confined to the four walls and the pressure of media and defence counsel make him to go through the same every-day. No Doubt the Supreme Court from time to time give directions to the states and also provide guidelines for the victims but these are not enough.

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The criminal justice system is based on the British model. The criminal justice administration in India is based on the provisions of mainly four acts which are the Constitution of India, the Indian penal code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act. After going through these acts one can easily find out that the provisions of these acts are a little bit tilted towards the accused. They provide so many provisions for the accused that the provisions for the victims are overshadowed by them. In most of the cases the crime is happened against the poor. Although state provides for free legal services to poor, many NGO’s are there but the reality is that the poor is still afraid to knock the doorway of the justice. Due to notoriety, corruption, fear and many other factors a poor person silently bears all the injustice and accused on the basis of lack of evidences and having access to highly paid advocated paves his way out of the court.

Justice Malimath Committee, a glimmer for the victims. The Committee felt that the existing system “weighted in favour of the accused and did not adequately focus on justice to the victims of crime.” The Committee made some recommendations to ensure justice to the victims.

  1. The victim should be allowed to participate in cases involving serious crimes and also given adequate compensation.
  2. Victim compensation is a State obligation in all serious crimes, whether the offender is apprehended or not, convicted or acquitted.
  3. A Victim Compensation Fund can be created under the victim compensation law and the assets confiscated in organised crimes can be made part of the fund[4].

Section 357A of the CrPC provides for the compensation to the victim. To explain its scope the Supreme Court in Mangilal vs State of M.P.[5] The Court observed: – “The power of the court to award compensation to the victims under Section 357 is not ancillary to other sentences but is in addition thereto.

Recently on 9th Feb. 2018 the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Sampurna Behura vs. Union of India[6] the bench comprising of Hon’ble Mr. J. M.B. Lokur and Hon’ble Mr. J. Deepak Gupta requested Chief Justices of all High Courts to “seriously consider” child friendly courts and vulnerable witness court in each district.

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No doubt there are numeral flaws in the Indian criminal legal system which hampers the justice to victim but law is a dynamic subject. On the one hand it is not too soft that accused plays with it and on the same time it should not be too harsh that it makes the life of accused a hell.  It is high time that recommendations of Justice Malimath committee should be implicated and also more facilities to be provide to the victim. Not only the judicial side, the society has also a role to play, the society should not put the victim into seclusion. Society should accept them with open hands.

[1] Student.

[2] Rattan Singh v. State of Punjab, (1979) 4 SCC 7191.

[3] K.D. Gaur, Criminal law 737 (3rd ed., 2015).

[4] K. Deepalakshmi, the Malimath Committee’s recommendations on reforms in the criminal justice in 20 points. (Feb. 8, 2018, 8:25 p.m.)

[5] Mangi Lal v. State of M.P., 1994 SCC (4).

[6] Sampurna Behura v. Union of India, Writ Petition (Civil) no. 473 of 2005.