Criminal Victimization and Justice Administration in India

Supriya Dash[1]

Crimes are not committed in the or with the vacuum. Each crime indicates a loss to the victim. Uncountable number of victims of vivid age, gender and sex are subject to the brutal face of the reality. The agony and the societal pressure is way beyond the imagination. A victim does not want to get treated as a victim. There are two types of ideologies with which a victim is looked at- bechari and guneghar. The victim of crime becomes the victim of the Indian justice system. Isn’t it duty of the State to investigate the victim first, agreed, the accused needs to be punished, but is that enough to grant justice to the victim? Victims are the insignificant part of the criminal adjudication.

Victimization isn’t defined anywhere in the law. 1985, the first year where in General Assembly of United Nations, a declaration was made for justice for victims of a crime. NAVSS (National association of Victim Support Schemes) was started for funds by the government to study victimology. In 1996, an important step was taken and guidelines for victim assistance in case of rape victim were provided.[2]

As per Indian Constitution, criminal justice system is a British Borrowed model. Criminal justice is governed by the Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, Indian Evidence Act and Indian Constitution. The victims are treated as witnesses.[3]

Since 1980, the Apex court has taken the treatment of victims seriously and in numerous cases. In Kumari Madhuri Patila And Another vs Addl. Commissioner[4], the Supreme Court ordered the UP Govt. to start disciplinary action against officers for not doing the investigation of a rape case properly and additionally directed to pay Rs. 2,50,000 as compensation.[5] The case of Hari Kisan,[6] the victim was granted compensation of Rs. 50,000/- and subordinate courts were to ensure compensations is granted to victims. However, this remained only on record.  The compensation to victims is not mandatory under any penal laws. 

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The General assembly of United Nation’s recommended payment to the victim should be mandatory, if the same is not being recovered from the accused, the State shall provide the compensation.  Section 357 of Criminal Procedure Code, makes fine an essential part of the conviction along with the sentence. This section has a very limited scope because the applicability is limited to the conviction of accused. Fine is assigned only when it is a part of sentence else magistrate order any amount to be paid while keeping in mind the capacity of the accused.[7] When we talk of compensation, an important question is raised does a victim is victim only for the crimes where the accused is convicted? The system of subordinate courts does not grant compensation for the victims where the accused is acquitted.  Legally, as per clause ‘wa’ to The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2008 defines victim as a person who suffered any injury or loss by the act or omission for which the accused has been charged with.[8] It does not include victims for which the accused has been acquitted. Now into consideration they have taken the victims of custodial crime and are eligible for compensation as held by Supreme Court.[9]

Ignorance of law is pleaded as no exception. The police officer is the foremost person with whom the victim encounters while reporting the incident. It is the mercy of the police officer if your complaint is registered (in certain cases). The police officers are clearly unaware and thus disobey the declaration i.e. The Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power.[10] Section 439 (2) allows a victim to move the Court for cancellation of bail; but it depends on opinion of the Prosecution.[11] The Malimath Committee played a crucial role in enlightening the existing concept of justice for victims by stating the obvious- that the absence of a law on witness protection has resulted in a growing trend of hostile witnesses. They suggested a victim should be able to choose their lawyer and it should not be state discretion and right to provide evidence.

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With time passing and understanding victims in a better way many new enactments were made with added significance to the victims. Some of them if jotted down would be the protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989. Now victims have certain rights ensured for them statutorily such as right to receive the copy of FIR, right to have in camera trial, right to protection, etc.

Whether justice, compensation and remedy are given to the victim can be ensured only by the Judiciary. There are very few victim assistance providers in Indian Country whereas the need is of many, mainly due to lack of funding.[12] Victims do not only need compensation but the same standing in the society which they used to have earlier. The victims of cyber bullying, rape, etc are never seen as the same person.  Huge number of crimes is unreported due to indefinite factors, the victims suffer.  Numerous accused are acquitted, justice denied. This makes me question the purpose of criminal justice administration in the country. In India no law as of now is present for the victims of the crime. The justice, rights are governed by the orders of the Apex court. Implementation is a major task for the Indian Judiciary because certain rules and enactments have just grown old in the papers. To conclude, the thing available for victims is compensation and in other aspects very little is done for them.


[1] Student.

[2] Bodhisattwa Gautam v. Subhra Chakraborty.

[3] Kumaravelu Chockalingam. Measuresfor Crime Victims in the Indian Criminal Justice System, UNAFEI (Feb.13, 2018), http://www.unafei.or.jp/english/pdf/RS_No81/No81_11VE_Chockalingam.pdf;

[4] Kumari Madhuri Patila and Another v. Addl. Commissioner, AIR 1995 SC 14.

[5] Deeoak Bade, Concept of Victimology in India, Academia (December 5, 2019), https://www.academia.edu/1787492/CONCEPT_OF_VICTIMOLOGY_IN_INDIA; last visited on 12/02/2018.

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[6] 1988 SC 2127.

[7] Murugesan Srinivasan & Jane Eyre Mathew, Victims and the Criminal Justice System in India: Need for a Paradigm Shift in the Justice System, doiserbia (Feb 14, 2018), http://www.doiserbia.nb.rs/img/doi/1450-6637/2007/1450-66370702051s.pdf.

[8] The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

[9] Nilabati Behra v. State of Odisha.

[10] Supra 1

[11] N.R. Madhava Menon, Victim’s Rights and Criminal Justice Reforms, The Hindu(Feb 14, 2018),http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/victims-rights-and-criminal-justice reforms/article3169888.ece.

[12] Victim Assistance, U.S Department of Interior (Feb. 12, 2018), https://www.bia.gov/bia/ojs/victim-assistance.