Criminal Victimization & Justice Administration in India

                                                                       Amitha Achu Thomas[1]

Crime occurs when someone breaks the law. The person who suffered because of this crime is the victim. According to Black’s law dictionary Victimization is “Unwarranted singly out of one person from a group and subjected to unfair treatment and other wrongs”[2]. If a person is subjected to unfair treatment, then he is a victim. Victimization is the process which makes one person a prey of an incident.

Victimization is a broad area where we can apply our thoughts in a wider sense. A person can be a victim in many aspects. The pain of victimization is a direct reaction to the outcome of crime. Crime victims suffer a great amount of physical and psychological trauma[3].  In a normal way, victims mean the person who is directly affected.  In rape cases or in murders the victims are the persons who faced the brutal attack from other person. But what we need to analyse is that, are these people only the victims or Are they the only people affecting of it?   In sec 2 (wa) of  The Code Of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2008, “victim” means a person who has suffered any loss or injury caused by reason of the act or omission for which the accused person has been charged and the expression “victim”  includes his or her guardian or legal heir[4].  In the section it is mentioned that a person who suffered any loss or injury due to the act or omission of the accused. So it is clear from the section that a person who suffered loss is the victim.   If that is the case, then we need to take care of the word meaning “victim “and “suffered loss”. Justice denial is a phase of victimisation. A person approached court or the legal agency to get justice and if that person denied justice, then he is a victim. And if he doesn’t get a proper legal aid or knowledge about the procedures of law then he is suffering a loss and that will extend to the victimization sometimes the police may not register the case or they will not investigate the case., or sometimes false registration of cases which includes registration of a case as cognizable instead of registering it as non- cognizable to harass the accused, and also if the prisoners detained after the period of 90 days are also victims.  All these denunciations make a person victimised or suffered loss in a way or other.

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 Not only this, there many probabilities where a person or a group of persons can be a victim.  The second part of the section 2 (wa) says, victims includes guardian or legal heir, which means the term victim is not confined to a particular individual. It can be affected to many.  People related to the accused can also become victims. Suppose a person is arrested for murder then his family will be victimised by the society. He may be the only bread earning in the family and if he is arrested then, the house will starve out of hunger or sometimes because of the crime he did, his son /daughter/ wife /parents may be neglected by the society. So, psychological aspect is a matter. Especially in rape cases, not only the individual who affected but the whole family is victimised.  The impact of crime on the victims and the families cause serious physical and psychological injuries and the financial loss. 

In India, justice administration is mainly through laws and there are four prevalent laws in India dealing with criminal justification:

  1. The Constitution of India
  2. The Indian Penal Code
  3. The Code of Criminal Procedure of India and
  4. The Indian Evidence Act. 

The constitution guarantees rights, IPC and CrPC deals with crimes and punishment. Legal agency such as police, judiciary are also justice providers.  But there is no separate victim’s law is enacted in India.  Section 357A Of CrPC says about Victim compensation scheme where, Every State Government in co-ordination with the Central Government shall prepare a scheme for providing funds for the purpose of compensation to the victim or his dependents who have suffered loss or injury as a result of the crime and who require rehabilitation[5]. And also sec 358 of CrPC says Whenever any person causes a police officer to arrest another person, if it appears to the Magistrate by whom the case is heard that there was no sufficient ground of causing such arrest, the Magistrate may award such compensation, not exceeding one thousand rupees, to be paid by the person so causing the arrest to the person so arrested, for his loss of time and expenses in the matter, as the Magistrate thinks fit.[6].  The former section says about the compensation for the victims and the latter says about the compensation to the person groundlessly arrested. Other than this there is no specific protection for the victims under the law. Even thou having these laws, it is not reaching to the needy. We need to watch over the application of these laws. Sec 357 says every state government should provide an amount to the victims and their family. So there should be funding scheme just like contingency fund. And it should reach to the needy and proper implementation of the law is necessary. In many circumstances police may arrest people groundlessly. Even thou the police are arresting them without any ground or connection to the crime, society mock at them, and their family will be mistreated by the society and also they will be embarrassed to live in that society. Victimology is another aspect of justice administration where it studies about the victims and consequence which broadens the area of victimisation and such a study can aware the society or can spread the actual pain or loss which a victim suffers.

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Over the past 20 years, a growing number of countries have initiated victimization surveys to assess national or local crime problems. The International Crime Victim Survey (ICVS) was initiated to study the crime not from the outlook of state agencies but from that of the public at large[7]. In some cases, public is not aware that they are the worst victims especially in white collar crimes. This unawareness affects them and adds fuel to such crime.  So victimization is a burning matter in the present scenario and which have to be decided not only with a legal provision but also with a psychological view.  In the famous story of Jean Val jean, after his release from the jail, the jail authorities give him a yellow passport that announces he is an ex-convict. He may be a convict before the law but the situation makes him to do that act is different.  He stolen the piece of bread to feed his sisters children who were starving out of hunger and they were the victims of poverty. In the eye of law, he may be a convict but in the eye of humanity he is a victim.  In the present days, the law and right available for the victims are not sufficient but let’s hope there will be a better tomorrow for the victims. 

[1] Student.

[2] Black’s law dictionary (2nd edition)

[3] The National centre for victims of crime, The trauma of victimization (feb. 10,2018).

[4] Criminal procedure code, sec 2(wa).

[5] Criminal procedural code, sec 357 A.

[6] Criminal procedural code, sec 358.

[7]  K. Chockalingham, Criminal Victimization in Four Major Cities in Southern India (11 Feb. 2018),

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