Various means of obtaining compensation by the victims

Various means are obtained by a victims of the offence for compensation. But there is a procedure which needs to be followed. The compensation has to be ordered by the court. Compensation can be sought through the procedure established by the court. Compensation is awarded for material as well as non-material damages.

Material damages include medical expenses, loss of livelihood, etc. Non-material damages include pain, suffering, mental trauma, etc. In criminal cases, the victims can directly apply for the compensation, and it is the duty of the lawyer representing the victim to demand such compensation.

The right for compensation of a victim comes into the picture when the fundamental rights of a person has been violated The fundamentals of victimology lie in the fundamental rights and DPSP. One of the most notable initiatives taken by the judiciary was the evolution of compensatory remedy through Article. 32 or 226/227.

However, the current available remedies are at courts discretion and there are no subsequent provisions for a speaking order. Calculation / Computation of the compensatory amount is well within the court’s jurisdiction.

Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India protects the rights of a victim.

In Rudal Shah V. State of Bihar AIR 1983 SC 1086, the Hon’ble Supreme Court laid down the principle of compensation where compensation can be given to an individual whose fundamental rights have been violated as well as the higher court also has similar authority under Article 226. This landmark judgment played a pivotal role in evolution of principle of compensatory jurisprudence in India.

In MC Mehta V Union of India AIR 1987 965 the supreme court held that the power under article 32 in not constrained to taking measures when fundamental rights are violated or threatened to be violated but it also extends to take remedial measures that is inclusive of compensation for the rights being violated.

There are following means of obtaining compensation by the victims :

(1) Judicial
(2) Statutory
(3) Ex-gratia
(4) Conciliation

(1) Judicial means

To the victims of crime, the judicial means of award of compensation has been as a means in common law world including India but the judicial approach to award compensation has not been so important in India in the past as compared to these days. The liberal interpretation of the constitutional provisions and the change towards victim oriented criminal jurisprudence has been of much help to the victims of crime.

The basic problem is that the prosecution and victims both are interested more in the punishment of criminals than the victim reparation. Most of the victims are not aware of their rights and therefore, in many cases, the rights remain unasserted. The judicial officers need to be humanistic in approach with a broad horizon towards compensatory jurisprudence.

(2) Statutory compensation

The provisions in India of statutory compensation to victims crime are scattered and a comprehensive legislation is needed. However, in certain legislation such as criminal Procedure Code, 1973 under Section 359 order for the payment of cost in cognizable cases is given.

Under Section 5 of the Probation of Offender Act, 1958, the Court may require released offenders to pay compensation and costs.

Under Section 168 of the Motor Vehicles Act, the Claims Tribunal has power to award compensation for death or an injury caused by the accident arising out of a motor vehicle. The provision of compensation on the principle of no fault liability in cases of an accidental death or permanent disablement by a motor vehicle are given in Sections 140, 141, 142, 143 and 144 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

In addition to these provisions, compensation can also be claimed by victims of domestic violence under Section 22 of Domestic Violence of 2004.

(3) Ex-gratia

Compensation is also awarded as ex-gratia by the Government and sometimes by the Court to the victims suffering harms due to riot, public disturbances and in accidental cases.

(4) Conciliation

Conciliation between the parties is a means of getting compensation by the victims. Generally, such cases do not reach the Courts and the affected party agrees to drop the idea of initiation of criminal proceedings. The conciliation takes place through the mediation of some third party who is usually an influential person or sometimes a common relative.

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