Karnataka HC issues guidelines to lower courts ask them to provide appropriate compensation to victims, as per provisions of CrPC, considering the gravity of offence and paying capacity of accused.
The Karnataka High Court has issued guidelines to trial court judges to follow in letter and spirit provisions under section 357 and 357 A of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and award appropriate compensation to victims of crime.
A division bench of Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice H P Sandesh while reversing an order of acquittal passed by the sessions court, reduced the sentence of two years imposed on the accused to six months, but increased the fine from Rs 1,000 to Rs 50,000 each. The bench while hearing the state appeal against the acquittal of Vishwanatha Devadiga and Bhavani Devadiaga said "While imposing punishment courts should not only keep in view the rights of criminals, but also the rights of victims and society at large."
The court then issued guidelines to the trial court judges and public prosecutors. While doing so it said "We find it necessary to issue guidelines to the judicial officers and the public prosecutors to comply with sections 357 and 357 A of CrPC by keeping in mind the object, intent and wisdom of legislature."
Guidelines for trial court judges:
While sentencing courts are directed to consider the capability of the accused to pay the fine and if the accused is capable to pay the fine amount, order appropriate fine and compensation.
If the accused is not capable to pay the compensation, then direct or refer the matter to the District Legal Services Authority to pay the appropriate compensation with the corpus created by the State of Karnataka in terms of notification dated February 22, 2012.
The trial judge should not only order for compensation but also make an interim order to rehabilitate the victim as held by the Apex court in case of Ankush and Suresh.
Trial court judges while awarding appropriate compensation and passing an order for interim rehabilitation keep in mind the gravity of the offences, nature of injuries and the amount spent for treatment which should be just and reasonable and not exorbitant. In other words the compensation should be proportionate to the gravity of offence.
For Public Prosecutors:
Public prosecutors shall request respective courts to impose the fine and compensation with the letter and spirit of section 357 and 357 A of CrPC. Public prosecutors shall make necessary application before the court to make interim arrangements to rehabilitate the victim in order to fulfill the very object of section 357 and 357 A of CrPC.
Registrar General of the High Court is directed to circulate the judgement to all the judicial officers in the state, with a direction to comply with the object and intent of sections 357 and 357 A.
Director of Prosecution is told to circulate it to all public prosecutors.
Click here to download the Judgment