Delhi HC: Victims Are Forgotten People in Justice Delivery System, They Should be Compensated Adequately

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The Delhi High Court had directed convicts to file an affidavit disclosing their assets, income and expenditure. This was to be done after conviction. It was to enable the trial courts to arrive at the compensation payable to victims.

Brief Facts

The Appellants were namely Karan, Sunny and ‘MB’ a juvenile in conflict with the law. They dragged Gulfam out of his house to a nearby park where Karan and Sunny caught hold of Gulfam. MB stabbed Gulfam in his back with a knife. Gulfam suffered fatal and severe injuries. The Ld. Additional Sessions Judge, under Sections 302/34 IPC, had convicted Appellants. The Appellants had challenged impugned judgments. 

Contentions

The Ld. Addl. Sessions Judge ceased to have jurisdiction due to transference with immediate effect vide transfer order. Thus, he was not empowered to deal with this case which was tried in the jurisdiction of Karkardooma Courts. The Note 2 appended to the transfer order was invalid. The judicial officers were empowered to deliver the judgment/order in the reserved matters through this note.

Court’s Observations

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A Full Bench including Justices JR Midha, Rajnish Bhatnagar and Brijesh Sethi had been set up. They had been hearing a batch of appeals of convictions under Section 302/34 of IPC. The convict should directly deposit the amount decided with DSLSA. This would be paid out or disbursed to the victims according to their scheme.  The Court had clarified that DSLSA should award compensation under Section 357A CrPC, from the Victim Compensation Fund. This was as per the Delhi Victims Compensation Scheme, 2018. This should be done in cases where the accused does not have the capacity to pay the compensation. This could also be when the compensation awarded against the accused was not adequate. 

The Court had provided that the Public Prosecutor shall file an application for the compliance of the procedure laid down by it in pending appeals/revisions where Section 357 CrPC for payment of compensation which had not been complied with.  The bench laid great emphasis on the impact of crime on the victims. It observed that victims were the forgotten people in the criminal justice delivery system. Justice would be incomplete without adequate compensation to the victim. Thus, it would be complete only when the victim was also compensated.

The Court had stated that Section 357 CrPC was intended to reassure the victim that he/she was not forgotten in the criminal justice system. It was stated that the power under Section 357 CrPC was to be exercised liberally. The purpose for which was to meet the ends of justice in a better way. The Court had directed that a monthly statement shall be sent by the trial courts to the Registrar General, Delhi High Court. The Court had stated for the same to be incorporated in the statue/Rules.

Court’s Decision

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A Victim Impact Report (VIR) should be filed by the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA). This was to be done in every criminal case after a summary inquiry.  The Victim Impact Report should be considered by the Trial Court concerned. This would include details like the paying capacity of the Accused, expenditure incurred on the prosecution and the submissions of the parties to award the compensation to the victim/s or the cost of the Prosecution to the State. The Court had held that the word “may” in Section 357(3) CrPC on payment of compensation to victims means “shall”. Thus, Section 357 CrPC was mandatory.  

The Court had held that the High Court had both judicial and administrative power to regulate the administration of justice. It also could appoint, post, promote and transfer the judicial officers.

Click here to view the Judgement.


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