There are people who are suffering beyond description. They are innocent people,
they didn't bring this upon themselves. They are the victims of the sins of
other people. And while it's hard to see, it's important to understand that
these people exist.
- Mia Farrow – Activist and Actress
In foreign countries, protection, assistance and compensation is given to
victims of crime. However, in India, victims are mostly ignored in the criminal
justice process. Indian laws need to be more Victim-oriented which includes
greater respect for victims and their rights in the investigative and
prosecution process. Also, provisions for greater choices to victims during
trial of the accused, and a system of reparation or compensation especially for
victims of violent crimes should be provided.
Inspite of presence of sections for rights to victims in Indian Constitution and
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 the criminal courts pretend to be ignorant of
them. It was observed in Best Bakery’s case that the rights and interests of
victims can be included and established in Indian Legal System.
The UN Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse
of Power, 1985 recognized the significance of the necessity to set the standards
and norms in international law for the protection of crime victims. It has
recognized four major rights of victims: access to justice and fair treatment;
restitution; compensation; and assistance.
” is defined as a person who has suffered harm, either physical or
mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss or violation of their
fundamental rights, through acts or omissions considered to be violative of
Indian criminal laws including those laws that prescribe criminal abuse of
According to the Indian legal framework, the term victim is defined under
Section 2(wa) of the CrPC, 1973 as a person who has suffered any loss or injury
caused by reason of the act or omission for which the accused person has been
charged and the expression victim includes his or her guardian or legal heir.
Although, this definition suffers from obvious insufficiencies.
Provisions For Victims In Indian Criminal Laws:
After years of debates and discussions some of the provisions of international
community of 1985 were recognized when the UN Declaration was adopted by the
General Assembly. In general, a victim’s rights can be classified in to
- Right to be treated with self-respect
- Right to notification.
- Right to be present.
- Right to be heard.
- Right to rational protection from terrorization and injury.
- Right to restitution.
- Right to information.
- Right to compensation especially for crimes of violent nature.
- Right to speedy proceedings
- Rights to privacy
In our Indian criminal justice system, a victim suffers everyday as the crime is
committed against him/her and also because he/she has to undergo a lot of
manipulation of the existing system. Whereas, the person who is found guilty is
sheltered, nursed, lighted, and entertained in prison for which the state gives
the expenditure from the taxes that the victims of crime are not provided with.
Justice V. R Krishna Iyer in Rattan Singh v. State of Punjab
correctly said that:
It is a weakness of our jurisprudence that victim of crime and the distress of
the dependents of the victim do not attract the attention of law. However, the
reimbursement for victims is still the disappearing opinion of our criminal law.
This shows the deficiency in our system, which must be rectified by the
Constitution Of India-Rights To Victims:
Our Constitution of India is considered to be the supreme law of the land and
the mother of all existing laws. The Indian Constitution includes some
provisions for victim’s rights, their protection, and respects the idea of
victim compensation. Article 14 and Article 21 inculcates some vital fundamental
rights that are to be read with Directive Principles of State Polices mentioned
in Articles 39A, 41, 46, and 51C.
As per Article 39A the state offers free legal assistance and guarantee for
promoting justice on the grounds of equal opportunity. Article 41 of the Indian
Constitution is relevant to the concept of victimology in a very broad manner as
it commands inter alia so that the state might start making provision to secure
public support in cases of incapacitation and also in cases of unjustifiable
If one empathetically interprets and imagines creatively one can discover
the early stages of constitutional victimology. Moreover, Article 21 assures
against unfair deprivation of life and liberty by compelling the state to
compensate victims of criminal violence.
Victim’s Rights Under Indian Penal Code:
The Indian Penal Code is applicable to all Indian citizens who commit crimes
within the Indian Territory. It is a list of offences and its punishment. The
Code describes offence as an act or omission punishable by law. One of the major
advantage to victims protection was received by the Criminal Law Amendment Act,
2013 since, for the first time, it had introduced a number of new crimes for
protection of women against acid attacks (Sec. 326A20 and 326B21), sexual
harassment (Sec. 345A), voyeurism (Sec. 345C) and stalking (Sec. 345D) and it
also widened the scope of definition of rape (Sec. 375) in IPC.
The two significant remedies of criminal justice system are compensation and
restitution which now, have become civil remedies during the modern period. This
invited the attention of various jurists to analyze the problems of victims from
a different perspective to improve their position and bring them on equivalence
with the accused.
Victim’s Rights Under Code Of Criminal Procedure:
Indian criminal law in a broad sense includes both the substantive criminal law
and the procedural criminal law. Here, the Substantive criminal law describes
offences and punishments for each of those offences, whereas the procedural
criminal law manages the substantive law. In any circumstance where the
procedural criminal law is absent, the substantive criminal law would be
considered as almost worthless.
The basis of the process that consists plea bargaining are found in Section
206(1) and 206(3) of the CrPC. Plea Bargaining as a concept was introduced by
The Law Commission of India in its 142nd, 154th and 177th reports. In these
reports, the Committee advocated that the concept of plea-bargaining should be
introduced into the Indian criminal justice system to enable the past resolution
of criminal cases and lessen the burden on the courts.
The victim is represented by the Public Prosecutor who is appointed by the
state. A proviso has been added to Section 24(8) which allows the victim to
choose an advocate of his choice for assisting the public prosecutor according
to the amendment of 2008. However the Code identifies few rights that favor the
victims but they are not as operative as those of rights of accused. For
example, the code grants a right to victim to choose his own private lawyer but
the authority given to that lawyer is limited to appoint where he can only
submit the written arguments after the evidence is recorded and only after the
Rights Of Victims During Filing Fir:The police, being the primary authority plays an important since they are the
first authority to examine the case from a victim’s perspective. Regrettably, in
India the victims are still provided with the treatment as mentioned in the
United Nation Handbook on Justice for Victims. The police, despite of being the
primary authority to investigate into the case, are totally unaware of the
international developments in areas such as victimology and well treatment that
should be given to the victims.
Negative and ill treatment by police themselves
will form a wrong perception of Indian criminal justice system in the eyes of
victims because as stated by United Nation Declaration, treatment with
compassion and respect for their dignity” is no doubt found missing at this
stage. Section 25 of the Indian Evidence Act, No confession made to a police
officer shall be proved as against a person accused of any offence, is not
taken seriously and the government and the police department end up following
the policy of sanitizing the police to a better treatment of victims.
Rights Of Victims During Judgement:In a criminal case, after the judgment is pronounced, the victim’s role in that
case ceases to exist. But the victim should be offered with some rights after
the judgement in order to ensure complete justice.
- Compensation to victim:
while pronouncing the judgement, the victim
should be given the right to get compensation. According to section 357(3) of
the Code of Criminal Procedure, the court has the right to grant compensation
for any loss or injury suffered by the victim, even in cases where fine was not
levied upon on the accused.
The Supreme Court of India in Harikishan & State of Haryana v. Sukhbir Singh
observed that courts in India rarely make use of section 357 of CrPC to grant
compensation to victims of crime. Keeping in mind the recommendations given by
the Malimath Committee and the Law Commission, the legislature inserted a
provision in section 372 of the Code through the Amendment Act of 2008 to
provide victims their right of appeal.
The role of the victim in the Indian Criminal Justice system is followed by the
common law tradition that was limited to that of a witness in the prosecution of
an offence. The reason for this was the negative perception of the victim as a
person who suffered harm, both physical or mental injury, emotional suffering,
economic loss or considerable damage of their fundamental rights.
As a result of
which, the Indian criminal justice system has become a channel of social control
by the state by taking over the right to prosecute the accused without the
victim. There should be a replacement of the vertical criminal justice system by
a horizontal justice system in which the punishment system is sought to be
replaced by a negotiation system giving the victim a central role to play.
However, our system persists with the vertical model of criminal justice.
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Yukta Kapadia -
- Ratan Singh v. State of Punjab, (1979) 4 SCC 719 (India).
- Dr.Pawankumar Mishra & Vivek Kumar, Criminal Justice Delivery System and
Rights of Victim: Need for Introspection, NBU (March 11, 2021, 3:20
- Victim Rights and Indian Criminal Justice System, SHODHGANGA (March 11,
- Murugesan Srinivasan and Jane Eyre Mathew, Victims and the Criminal
Justice System in India: Need for a Paradigm Shift in the Justice System,
TEMIDA, Jun 2007, at pp 51-62.
- Basu, D.D, Constitutional Law of India (Nagpur: Wadhwa & Co.,2003)
- Dr.K.N. ChandrashekharanPillai, R.V. Kelkar’s Criminal Procedure, fifth
ed., Eastern Book Company, Lucknow (2008), p.1.
- Recommendation 106 Malimath Commission
- K. Choockalingam, measures of Crime Victim in the Indian Criminal Justice
System, (March 19, 2021, 6:00pm), http://www.unafei.or.jp/english/pages!RMS/No8
- Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, The Indian Criminal Justice System'', as
quoted in KD Gaur, Criminal Law, Criminology and Administration of Criminal
- Harikishan & State of Haryana v. Sukhbir Singh (1998) 4 sec 551.
Amity University, Maharashtra - BA.LL.B – Semester 6(H)
Authentication No: MA34026749653-14-0521