Criminal Victimization and Justice Administration in India

Shalu Gupta[1]

The concept of crime is concerned with the social order. There cannot be any society without the crime because living in a society leads to conflict of interest and would give rise to the need for administration of justice. Crime is a very complex issue. Now it’s become a part of our society (inseparable from civilized life). Every day we read or hear about the crime from various sources such as TV and newspaper. Now a major question arises on which we should emphasized more the crime, offender and victim? Criminal is a person who has committed a crime. In today’s time there are many sociological issues that make the person criminally liable. Now a major question arises whether the criminals are born or made? No, absolutely no!  Here is why because there are two major factors that make a person criminally liable i.e. economic factors and family issues. In most of the cases the purpose behind committing a crime is always economic in nature because with economic growth people’s craze for wealth and other’s luxuries life has increased.

Crime does not only affect the direct victim but it also affects the family of the victim, friends and society as well. The impact of crime on the victim results in physical injury, anxiety, psychological stress and lack of sleep etc. The impact of crime can also last for a long time because some people are capable enough to deal with the terrible crime while others may be very distressed by a minor incident. But sometimes it becomes more difficult to deal with the crime in case of domestic violence as it is an ongoing crime and goes unreported because of fear and family pressure. We can say that victimization of women has been increased. It is difficult to know the extent of female victimization. The reason behind that in most of the cases women suffer victimization without the case being reported to the police. The victimization of women includes rape, kidnapping, sexual harassment and dowry death that can also have a wide impact. To protect the rights of women several laws were passed by the parliament of India such as the protection of women from domestic violence act 2005, Dowry Prohibition act, 1961, Sexual harassment of women at workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal act, 2013) and Medical Termination of Pregnancy act, 1971. The government of India launched a various schemes and programmes such as Beti Bachao, Beti Padhaofor women empowerment.

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There has been considerable growth in crime rate in the past few years. The crime is not in India alone but the incidence of crime in western countries is much greater than that of India. Our criminal justice system focuses more on offender, in controlling the crime rate rather than to compensate the victim. They are treated as an ignorant person of the society. The needs of the victim are as important as the need to punish the offenders. Victims are members of the society to which they have contributed but the government has failed to protect them. Now a major question arises why an interest of the victim of crime remains misrepresented before the criminal court? As in criminal court no one represents the interest of the victim of crime or his/her family. The statute under which compensation may be awarded to the victims of crime i.e. Code of criminal procedure 1973, probation of offender act, 1958 and motor vehicle act, 1988. In today’s time poor, disabled and socially neglected people are more likely to be the victim of crime.

The criminal justice system was adopted from the British model. The object of the criminal law is to protect society against criminals and maintenance of public order. There are two main laws which deals with administration of criminal cases in our country are Criminal procedure code and Indian penal code. In earlier times every man was liable to be attacked in person or property at any time by anyone. “A tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye was followed by everyone”. But with the changing norms of the society people started to accept the change. But in the past few years’ judiciary has come forward with a helping hand to give some relief to the victims of crime i.e. to compensate the victim under section 357-A of Crpc.

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 As every coin has two sides there are also some defects in the criminal justice administration of India because in prison perpetrator is fed, clothed and educated at the expenses of the state from the taxes that the victim pays to the treasury. Now we can say that victim is contributing towards the care of prisoners instead of being looked after. The role of the victim of crime is entirely overlooked. The criminal justice administration in India is based on the phenomenon that “let hundred guilty go unpunished rather than single innocent be punished”. Now a question arises “does this still exist now”. No, because most of the people become victims of crime that is committed by others and an innocent has to suffer because of the mistake of others. So, is it justice in true sense? No, it is not always justice that is rendered by the courts. The poor people even can’t reach the temple of justice because of poor economic conditions and making the legal process costlier is an indirect denial of justice.

Our criminal justice system is in endanger because there are 65,000 cases pending in the Supreme Court, a total of 42 lakh cases in high courts and 2.9 crore in trial courts. Here, poor people feel that Indian judiciary gives priority to the rich and powerful person while they are ignored. According to the common people rich man gets speedy justice. On the other hand, the judiciary needs to strengthen the rights of victim in India. The compensation given under section 357 is not adequate and interim compensation must be paid to the victim and delay in payment of compensation must be avoided. There must be an expeditious judiciary. The awareness camps must be organized to create awareness of victim compensation scheme. Charities for victim support must be established as it will help a lot to the victim of crime. Institutional mechanism must be established to help the victim of rape, domestic or sexual violence.

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[1] Student.