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BNSS makes it hearing of victims mandatory before withdrawal of case

The BNSS, one of the three laws overhauling the criminal justice system, introduces Clause 360 which has a proviso that the victim must be heard before such withdrawal is allowed.
Last Updated : 01 July 2024, 16:59 IST

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New Delhi: The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS), which came into force on Monday replacing British-era Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) makes it mandatory for the views of victims to be heard before any application for withdrawal of case by prosecutor is allowed by the court.

The erstwhile CrPC under Section 321 allowed the prosecutor to withdraw a case at any time before the judgement is pronounced with the consent of the court but it did not allow the victim to be heard at this stage.

The BNSS, one of the three laws overhauling the criminal justice system, introduces Clause 360 which has a proviso that the victim must be heard before such withdrawal is allowed.

"This is a significant recognition of the victim as a stakeholder in the criminal trial," an official said.

The new laws introduce participatory rights to victims to have a say in criminal process, right to information and right to compensation for the harm suffered by the victims through various clauses, officials said.

The new provisions have been introduced taking into account recommendations of 154th Law Commission Report (1996) and the Justice Malimath Committee Report (2003) which had recommended justice to victims and "victimology" as crucial areas of reform. It recommended increasing victims' participatory role and better compensatory justice.

Under the BNSS, the victims will have right to receive a copy of the FIR and the police will have to inform them on the progress in the investigation within 90 days and, therefore, allows the victim to be aware of possible lapses and delays in the investigation.

Clause 230 of the BNSS also gives a "crucial right" to the victims and accused to get information about the details of their case through the mandatory provision of the police report, FIR, witness statements, etc., which is meant to enable effective and meaningful participation of the victim in the criminal process, officials said.

“Provisions have been incorporated to provide information to the victims at various stages of investigation and trial,” they said.

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Published 01 July 2024, 16:59 IST

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