Supreme Court directs all States and UTs to implement victim compensation scheme, immediately
Hearing a matter relating to abduction and killing of two businessmen for a ransom of Rs. 50 lac, in Haryana, the Supreme Court has ordered interim compensation of Rs. 10 lac for their family.
Earlier the High Court had rejected the family’s demand for compensation after which the matter reached the Apex Court. The Supreme Court also upheld the life term awarded to two convicts, and directed the High Court to decide on the final compensation amount.
Section 357A of the Code of Criminal Procedure puts an obligation on the government to provide compensation to the victim’s family and the court can order the same for the rehabilitation of the family.
The Bench of Justices V Gopala Gowda and Adarsh Kumar Goel said, “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”. The Supreme Court also observed that it was the duty of the courts “to takes 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.”
Laying down the principles to decide such cases, the Bench said, “Gravity of offence and need of victim are some of the guiding factors to be kept in mind, apart from such other factors as may be found relevant in the facts and circumstances of an individual case,”
Additional Solicitor General L N Rao informed the Court that 25 state governments had notified such schemes. The Apex Court then ordered the four remaining states, i.e., Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya and Telangana to do the same within one month.
The Court also expressed the view that the upper limit that some states have put is dismally low and does not meet the objectives of the legislation. It asked the states to revise the amount as per the cost of living index. The Supreme Court also asked states to make more funds available to the Legal Service Authorities.
As per Indian Express, quantum of compensation in Kerala is highest in the country. It says, ‘compensation for death due to crime is Rs 5 lakh, and that for rape victims and culpable homicide not amounting to murder is at least Rs 3 lakh. The compensation for dowry-related violence is up to Rs 2 lakh, while the amount for acid attack victims ranges from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 3 lakh.’