Govt study bats for compensation scheme for victims of crime

A government-sponsored study has strongly argued for the immediate introduction of a scheme to compensate victims of crime.
Highlights: 
At present, victims of war and accidents have the right to claim compensation.

A government-sponsored study has strongly argued for the immediate introduction of a scheme to compensate victims of crime that could lead to an expenditure of at least Rs 12,700 crore per year.

The study by former Additional Director General of Maharashtra V V Lakshmi Narayana, a 1990-batch IPS officer whose voluntary retirement application was accepted recently, also asks the central government to provide enough funds to states for better implementation of such a scheme.

"In a modern welfare state in order to ensure that innocent people may not be victimised, the accused has been granted certain rights and privileges and in the entire scheme of things, the by-product of crimes, i.e victims, are overlooked completely. In the Indian context, there is a widespread perception that the victims are the forgotten people in the criminal justice delivery system," Narayana states.

"The purpose of criminal justice system at present appears to an ordinary citizen, to be confined to the simple object of ascertaining the guilt or innocence of the accused and use the victim only as a witness," Narayana states in the study sponsored by the Bureau of Police Research and Development, a government think tank.

At present, victims of war and accidents have the right to claim compensation but there is no such scheme for other victims, though compensation has been awarded in a few cases at the discretion of the court.

According to the study, such a scheme would bring down the minimisation and suppression of crime considerably, as allurement of receiving compensation would provide the public with an attraction to report the crime honestly. It could also lead to improvement in the investigation following better public participation.

Another possibility cited by Narayana is that witnesses would come forward more as the atmosphere of mutual faith may perhaps develop between the police, public and ultimately with the judiciary.

In the study, he has proposed four models of compensation, which swings between an expenditure of Rs 4,710 crore and Rs 12,710 crore based on the crime figures of 2014 provided by the National Crime Records Bureau.

Narayana prefers a model followed by the United Kingdom, which is elaborate and has 380 injuries listed for compensation.

Under this model, families of murder victims could get Rs 3.75 lakh while a rape victim could get Rs 1.75 lakh. The government may have to spend at least Rs 12,710 crore if one goes by the 2014 crime statistics.

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Govt study bats for compensation scheme for victims of crime

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