The Supreme Court has been moved in a PIL seeking enactment of a law for compensation and rehabilitation of the people who are acquitted, having been languished in jails for wrongful prosecution and incarceration for years and years.
The petition by Yash Giri, a final year Law student through his Advocate -on- Record Mithilesh Kumar Singh, further prays for interpretation of Section 2(wa), which defines the term "Victim", and Section 357-A of the Criminal Procedure Code,1973 which requires the State Government to, in coordination with the Central Government, prepare a scheme for providing funds for the purpose of compensation to the victim or his dependants who have suffered loss or injury as a result of the crime and who require rehabilitation.
"In the case if the accused is acquitted after spending many years behind bars naturally makes him the victim of the system, thus the compensation and rehabilitation should be awarded to the acquitted person who has suffered as a result of the crime. This Hon'ble Court has always protected the rights of the people by upholding the Constitution of India. Article 14 & 21 of Constitution of India guarantees equality before law and protection of life and personal liberty. In the given situation when an accused is acquitted after spending many years behind bars he/she has already lost many precious years of their lives. This happens when the person is wrongfully prosecuted and the delay in the legal system leads to the accused languishing in jail, thus the same is violative of basic spirit of Article 21 of Constitution of India", it is advanced.
The petitioner urges that some amount of compensation or rehabilitation scheme would help the victim of the system to gain back his/her reputation and build a fruitful life again with dignity. "The Apex Court while dealing with such cases has awarded compensation to wrongfully prosecuted persons in numerous cases but in most of the cases no such compensation has been awarded", it is pointed out.
As there is no perpetual statute to decide the theory of compensation which should be applied in the case of a person who is wrongfully prosecuted
or incarcerated, the Petitioner also seeks liberty to pray that an appropriate mandamus be issued directing the Respondents to implement the 277th report proposed by the Law Commission of India on 30.08.2018 which laid down legal remedies regarding wrongful prosecution.
As India ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 (ICCPR), it is advanced that there is no sign of a statute which obligates the state in the case. The United Nations Human Rights Committee discussed Article 14 of the ICCPR in detail in its General Comment No. 32 (2007) and explained that "it is necessary that States parties enact legislation ensuring that compensation as required by this provision can in fact be paid and the payment is made within a reasonable time".
The plea avers that the National Crime Relations Bureau data shows that across the country, under trial prisoners continue to be higher in numbers than the convict's population. The report also reflects that the conviction rate was at 48% and more than 50% was that of acquittal.
"The sole purpose of this Petition is to compensate and rehabilitate those persons who are the victims of the legal system. The persons who are accused and later acquitted after spending many years in jail and who have lost their respect, faced agony and are often seen far behind in society", it pressed.