Supreme Court Asks All States and UTs Asked to Implement Victim Compensation Scheme Soon
The Supreme Court on Monday ordered an interim compensation of Rs. 10 lakhs to the families of two businessmen who were killed for a ransom of Rs. 50 lakhs in Haryana. This verdict came after the High Court rejected the demand for compensation by the family. Following this, the family went on an appeal to the Apex court. The life term awarded by the High Court for the two convicts of the case was upheld by the Supreme Court and asked the high Court to decide on the final compensation amount to be awarded to both the families.
There is a section 357A of the Indian Penal Code of Criminal Procedure that puts on a compulsion on the Government to provide the compensation to the family of the victim and the court has the powers to order the same for the family rehabilitation. The Supreme Bench comprising of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and V Gopala Gowda said that, “It has been brought to our notice that even though almost a period of five years has expired since the enactment of Section 357A, the award of compensation has not become a rule and interim compensation, which is very important, is not being granted by the courts”. They also said that, “it is the duty of the courts to take cognizance of a criminal offence, to ascertain whether there is tangible material to show commission of crime, whether the victim is identifiable and whether the victim of crime needs immediate financial relief.”
The Supreme Court also said that the gravity of the offence and the victim’s needs has to be taken into consideration to decide the result of such cases. Apart from the facts and circumstances of an individual case, it is the duty of the judges to keep the above two principles in the mind.
The Supreme Court Justices was informed by Additional Solicitor General L N Rao that 25 state governments had reported such schemes and the apex court ordered that the missing states Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Meghalaya also do the same within a month’s time.
The Court also pointed out that the upper limit put out by a few states are very low and does not meet the legislative objectives. The states have been asked to revise the rates in accordance with the cost of living index. The Apex court also ordered the states must make sure that more funds are made available to the Legal Service Authorities.