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Kerala Set To Strengthen Role Of Victims In Criminal Jurisprudence System [Read Circular and Judgment]

Kerala Police State Chief Loknath Behera has now issued a circular calling for strengthening and widening the role of ‘victims’ in crimes. The circular has been issued pursuant to the observations of Kerala High Court through Justice Devan Ramachandran in a recent case.

 Justice Ramachandran, through his judgment in  TV Thomas vs State of Kerala & Others, had ruled that victims of a crime shall not be a mere outsider in the criminal proceedings, but shall be viewed as equal stakeholders in criminal justice dispensation system.

Justice Ramachandran, in his verdict, opined as follows: “Our system often views victims as outsiders in the criminal proceedings. However, it is ineluctable that victims are, world over, being now considered as equal stakeholders in the criminal justice system. I believe they are owed a right to exercise an effective voice in decision making processes like investigation, prosecution, reparation, etc. The victims are generally placed in a subservient position by the collective interests of the society in prosecuting the crime. However, time has now come to give them sufficient latitude in determining how their concerns are identified and how they will be taken into account. In this process, the victims’ needs, concerns, fear and apprehension need to be acknowledged and accommodated. The victims deserve to be treated with respect by the investigatory and prosecuting services and to help them in their recovery process to be kept informed about the progress of all these proceedings.”

The circular, now issued in this context, aims to create an effective voice for the victims of a crime in decision-making process like investigation, prosecution and reparation etc. The circular, which has quoted verbatim the observations of the honourable court, calls for continuous interaction between the families of the deceased/victim and the police, who is the investigating authority at all stages of the crime. The circular, which applies and extends to all nature of crimes, aims to strengthen the role of Victim Liaison Officer [VLOs], who shall be the connecting link between the families/victims of crime with the investigating authorities. The functions and behavior of VLOs shall be monitored by supervisory officers of each crime, who shall report further cause of action to the District Police Chief concerned. The circular also mandates periodical review of the above process by Additional Director General of Police of respective zones till the case is chargesheeted and, if possible, even during prosecution so that there is desired satisfaction for the victim/deceased family.

The circular, thus, aims to implement the directions of the high court issued through Justice Devan Ramachandran in letter and spirit who had observed thus: “System of criminal jurisprudence and the justice dispensation system should attempt to assuage the petitioners’ feelings and to convince them that their apprehensions may be without basis.

Read the Judgment and Circular Here

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