The Karnataka High Court has held that trial court/special court has to recommend the District Legal Services Authority/state legal services authority to decide and award the compensation in accordance with the POCSO rules, or the victim compensation scheme, but should not decide the quantum of compensation, itself, which is against the provisions of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
Justice K Natarajan, allowed the revision petition filed by Karnataka State Legal Services Authority, (KSLSA), challenging and order passed by the trial court, directing KSLSA to pay additional compensation of Rs 35,000, under POCSO rules, to a victim. The court said "KSLSA has rightly argued that the special court ought not to have quantified or decided the compensation under section 357-A of CrPC or under the POCSO rules, by ignoring the schedule mentioned in the victim compensation scheme, 2011."
KSLSA the petitioners argued that police had filed charge sheet against respondent No.2-accused for the offence punishable under Section 354-A of Indian Penal Code and Sections 7 and 8 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Act, 2012 (for short 'POCSO Act'). The Trial Court, after framing the charges against accused and during the course of trial, on the application filed by the public prosecutor, altered the charges in respect of Section 354-A of IPC and discharged him for the offence punishable under the POCSO Act.
After the trial, court found the accused guilty of the offence punishable under Section 354-A of IPC and sentenced accused to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of 4 months and to pay fine of Rs.15,000, in default, to undergo simple imprisonment for two months. Court directed the KSLSA to pay the compensation of Rs.35,000/- in addition to the compensation already awarded under Section 357, CrPC.
As per Section 357 of Cr.P.C., the Trial Court has power to award compensation to the victim out of the fine amount that was already ordered, but as per Section 357-A of Cr.P.C., the victim compensation shall be paid in accordance with the Karnataka Victim Compensation Scheme, 2011 of the Government and the quantum of the compensation amount cannot be fixed by the Court. The same has to be fixed by the DLSA after making enquiry and considering the injury sustained by the victim as per the Schedule mentioned in the said Scheme.
The trial Court has already discharged respondent No.2/accused for the offence under the POCSO Act. Therefore, the Trial Court cannot direct the KSLSA to pay compensation and also contended that absolutely there is no injury sustained by the victim in this case. Therefore, the question of awarding additional compensation under Section 357-A of Cr.P.C. does not arise.
The court said:
Trial Court has committed error in passing the said order by awarding compensation and directing the SLSA to pay compensation. Usually, the Trial Court has to recommend the victim to approach the DLSA/SLSA under Section 357-A or under the POCSO Rules or under the Victim Compensation Scheme for seeking/getting compensation as per the Victim Compensation Scheme, 2011, in addition to the compensation awarded under Section 357 of Cr.P.C.
Advocate B.V.VIDYULATHA, appeared for petitioner.
Advocate MAHESH SHETTY, HCGP FOR R-1;
Advocate RUPERT M.ROSARIO, for R-2, accused.
CRIMINAL REVISION PETITION No.306 of 2018