Relief amount fixed at Rs 2 lakh for death of crime victim

Relief amount fixed at Rs 2 lakh for death of crime victim

A compensation of Rs two lakh will be paid to the next of kin of a victim of crime, according to the draft of the Victim Compensation Scheme which was approved by the State Cabinet on Tuesday.

Compensation can be claimed for the following also: loss of any limb or part of body resulting in 80 per cent or above handicap – Rs 1 lakh; loss of any limb or part of body resulting in 40 per cent and below 80 per cent handicap – Rs 50,000; rape of minor – Rs 50,000; rape – Rs 40,000; rehabilitation necessitated due to damage to house, vehicle, etc – Rs 20,000; loss of any limb or part of body resulting in below 40 per cent handicap – Rs 20,000; grievous injuries other than the injuries mentioned above – Rs 10,000; women and child victims in cases like human trafficking, who themselves or their dependents have suffered separation, dislocation and disturbance – Rs 10,000.

The ‘victim’ has been classified as “any person or his dependents who have suffered loss or injury as a result of the crime and who requires rehabilitation.”

A schedule of the 30 incidents/instances which was drafted by the Home department for compensation to be claimed by victims of crime under the Scheme was condensed to nine incidents by the State Cabinet. As per the Scheme, which comes under Section 357 A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the victim can claim compensation from the District Legal Service Authority (DLSA) or State Legal Service Authority (SLSA), but by lodging a complaint at the police station. 

However, victims, who make false claims, can actually be penalised. The compensation can be reclaimed by the DLSA with an annual interest of 15 per cent, if the complaint has been concocted. Principal Secretary, Home, S M Jaamdar said there was a possibility of the Scheme being misused. He said paucity of funds, lax administrative culture and prevailing culture of bribery - along with too many false and frivolous claims - may affect its implementation. He says that the monetary cost is yet to be assessed.

The UN Declaration of the Basic Principles of Justice for victims of crime adopted in 1985 is binding on India as a member of the UN. But no such general scheme was formulated in the country since 1985.

Though the Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constitution of India in Article 38 (1) recommended Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, no such Board was created.

Section 357 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was also not used by most of the courts in India. The Parliament passed an amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure (Act 5 of 2009) by adding a new section numbered 357 A.

Sec 357A vs Sec 357
* Compensation payable under Section 357 A is paid out of a special fund created by the State government. Under Section 357, it is paid out of the fine recovered from the convict
* Compensation under Section 357 A is payable even in cases where the offender is not identified or found. Under Section 357, it is paid upon conviction of the offender.
*The new section entrusts to a special body – the Legal Services Authority – the task of deciding compensation. It is left to the discretion of the trial or appellate court in Section 357.
* The new section is mandatory in nature, but the old one is discretionary.
* Now, there is a provision for interim relief and time limit is fixed (two months) for completing the inquiry. No such provision is there in Section 357.
*Section 357 A does not prohibit sanction of compensation under Section 357. It also allows not only the victim, but also his/her dependents to claim compensation.

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