Criminal Victimization and Justice Administration in India

Shilpi[1]

An 8-month old baby-girl was brutally raped by her 28-year-old cousin, in her parents’ absence. This inhuman act in return of a misplaced trust periled the baby’s life. This will not only affect the life of the victim but also her family. The psychological trauma that a victim suffers is criminal victimization.

A criminal act not only affects the victim physically but mentally too. One can recover from a physical pain with the help of proper treatment but it is laborious to recover from a mental trauma. Besides the victim and the family, a crime affects the society also. If in a society the crime rate is high, then it becomes difficult for the society to develop. In that kind of society people feel unsafe about their lives. After being victim to any heinous crime, a victim starts feeling isolated from the society. The offences such as murder, rape, torture, assault, robbery etc. have a lasting effect of insecurity, fear, helplessness, anger etc. not only in the victim but the community as a whole which might also feel victimized and insecure.[2]

Anyone can be a victim but the ratio of victims is more in category of children, women, and mentally or physically ill person.

Children below the age of 18 are the victims of molestation, sexual abuse, mental or physical abuse or any other heinous crime due to which their life is affected. Any victim of sexual abuses doesn’t feel free to interact with another person. To bring them back to normalcy, they need special care and protection, a healthy and a friendly environment, so that they can share their problems and get back to normal.

For special care and protection for the juvenile, there are many laws for their welfare. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE) is an act of Indian Parliament enacted on 4 August 2009, which describes the importance of free and compulsory education for children between the ages of 6 to 14 under Article 21 A of Indian Constitution. Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights Rules, 2006, these are laws implemented for the betterment for the juvenile victim. These acts are to protect children from offence of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography and provide for establishment of Special Courts for trail of such offences and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

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Women are one of the most vulnerable groups of the society. The crime rate against the women is increasing day by day drastically due to lack of proper implementation of laws. Women became the victims of sexual abuses, rape and dowry death. Crimes covered under “assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty” include relatively more serious crimes such as ‘sexual harassment’, ‘assault or use of criminal force to women with intent to disrobe’, ‘voyeurism’ and ‘stalking’.

Rape is the only crime in which the victim becomes the accused and, in reality, it is she who must prove her good reputation, her mental soundness, and her impeccable propriety.” -Freda Adler

Many laws are introduced by parliament to empower the women, Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.

The time gone, when people used to say “might is right”, now it’s the time of “an eye for an eye”. The crucial problem of today is whether a criminal is to be regarded by nuisance to be abated or an enemy to be crushed or a patient to be treated or a refractory child to be disciplined?

In India, there is three major criminal laws, Indian Penal Code, 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

Indian Penal Code, 1860 is a substantive law enshrining the rights and responsibilities of an individual, and the nature of punishment that someone may receive upon being convicted. Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is a procedural law, which generally talks about the practice, procedure and machinery for the imposition of rights and duties. It has ways and means for imposing substantive laws.

The procedure for the punishment of a crime is defined under Cr.P.C. The procedure is divided into four steps

  1. Investigation[3]
  2. Inquiry[4]
  3. Trial[5]
  4. Punishment[6].
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Cr.P.C. defines two types of offence[7]: Cognizable[8]and non-cognizable[9].

The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, provides the machinery for the detection of crime, apprehension of suspected criminals, collection of evidence, determination of the guilt or innocence of the suspected person, and the imposition of suitable punishment on the guilty person.[10] According to Justice V.S. Malimath, “Punishment must be severe enough to act as a deterrent, but not too severe to be brutal. Similarly, punishment should be moderate enough to be human, but cannot be too moderate to be ineffective.”

The court should administer justice for the violation of the victim’s rights.

If we do not maintain justice, justice will not maintain us.” -Francis Bacon

When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers. Government must take an opposite step to stop the increase in crime rate, especially for women. Even with a proper criminal justice framework, India has failed to implement it efficiently. People have a great faith in judiciary, so judiciary must always be there for them.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” -Martin Luther King Jr.


[1] Student.

[2] Prof. N.V. Paranjape, Criminology & Penology with victimology, 733 (16th edn. 2015).

[3]  The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, Sec. 2(h).

[4] The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, Sec. 2(g).

[5] The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, Sec. 4.

[6] The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, Chapter XXXII.

[7] The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, Sec. 2(n).

[8] The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, Sec. 2(c).

[9] The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, Sec. 2(l).

[10] R.V. Kelkar, Criminal Procedure 1 (6th edition).