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Victim Compensation Scheme in India

Keywords

Victim, Compensation, Financial assistance, Trauma, Scheme, Laws

Abstract

A victim compensation scheme is an initiative that provides financial assistance to the victims of crimes, accidents, and other unforeseen incidents. It aims to restore the victims to their pre-incident financial condition and help them to cope with the physical and emotional trauma. In India, the Victim Compensation Scheme is a state subject, and every state has its own guidelines for its implementation. This article aims to discuss the concept, contemporary status in India, definition, or statutes if any, and case laws related to victim compensation schemes in India. The article concludes by emphasizing the need for proper implementation and awareness of these schemes for the benefit of the victims of crimes and accidents.

History and Development:

The victim compensation scheme in India can be traced back to the 1980s when the Supreme Court of India recognized the right of the victim to receive compensation for the harm caused to them. In 1983, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act was passed, which provided for the payment of compensation to victims of crime.

In 2004, the Central Government introduced the Victim Compensation Scheme, which provided for the payment of compensation to victims of various crimes, including rape, acid attacks, and child sexual abuse. Under this scheme, victims were entitled to receive compensation of up to Rs. 2 lakhs.

In 2018, the Ministry of Home Affairs introduced the National Victim Assistance and Compensation Scheme, which aims to provide financial support to victims of all crimes. The scheme provides for the payment of compensation of up to Rs. 7 lakhs to victims of rape, acid attacks, and human trafficking, and up to Rs. 5 lakhs to victims of other crimes.

The victim compensation scheme is a government initiative that provides financial assistance to the victims of crimes, accidents, and other unforeseen incidents. It aims to restore the victims to their pre-incident financial condition and help them cope with the physical and emotional trauma. The scheme provides monetary assistance to the victims and their families for medical expenses, loss of income, and other expenses incurred due to the incident.

The Victim Compensation Scheme was first introduced in the United States in the 1960s, and since then, it has been implemented in several countries worldwide. In India, the scheme was first introduced in 1976, under Section 357A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (Hereinafter referred to as the CrPC Act). This provision was added to provide compensation to the victims of crimes, including rape, murder, and acid attacks.

In India, the Victim Compensation Scheme is a state subject, and every state has its own guidelines for its implementation. The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has issued guidelines for the implementation of the scheme, which provides a framework for the states to follow. Under the scheme, the victim or their family can apply for compensation by filing an application with the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) or the State Legal Services Authority (SLSA), or the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA). The application should be accompanied by relevant documents, such as medical bills, police reports, and other supporting documents. Once the application is received, the DLSA/SLSA/NALSA will conduct an inquiry and determine the amount of compensation to be awarded. The amount of compensation varies depending on the nature of the crime, the severity of the injury, and the financial condition of the victim.

Merits and Demerits:

The victim compensation scheme has several merits, including providing financial support to victims of crime, promoting a sense of justice and fairness, and helping victims to cope with the trauma and harm caused to them. The scheme also helps to ensure that victims do not face additional financial burdens as a result of the crime.

However, the victim compensation scheme also has some demerits. One of the main criticisms of the scheme is that the compensation amount is often inadequate and does not fully compensate victims for the harm caused to them. Another criticism is that the scheme is often inaccessible to many victims, particularly those from marginalized communities, who may not have the resources or knowledge to claim compensation.

Law Commission Report on Victim Compensation Scheme:

In 2018, the Law Commission of India submitted its report on the victim compensation scheme. The report recommended several changes to the scheme, including the introduction of a victim compensation fund to ensure that victims receive adequate compensation.

The report also recommended that the compensation amount should be determined on the basis of the harm caused to the victim, rather than the type of crime committed. This would help to ensure that victims receive appropriate compensation, regardless of the type of crime committed.

Case laws:

It was held in the case of Delhi Domestic Working Women’s Forum v. Union of India[1], the Supreme Court held that the State is under a constitutional obligation to provide compensation to the victims of crimes. The court also held that the compensation awarded should be reasonable and adequate to cover the medical expenses, loss of income, and other expenses incurred due to the incident.

In the case of Chairman, Railway Board v. Chandrima Das[2], the Supreme Court held that the railways are liable to pay compensation to the victims of accidents caused due to their negligence. The court also held that the compensation awarded should be reasonable and adequate to cover the medical expenses, loss of income, and other expenses incurred due to the incident.

Victim compensation is an important aspect of criminal justice that aims to provide financial support to victims of crime. The victim compensation scheme in India has undergone significant changes over the years, with the introduction of various laws and guidelines to ensure that victims receive appropriate compensation for the harm caused to them. In this article, we will discuss the history and development of the victim compensation scheme in India, its merits and demerits, and the law commission report on the victim compensation scheme.

The victim compensation scheme in India has come a long way since its inception in the 1980s. While the scheme has several merits, it also has some demerits, which need to be addressed. The Law Commission report provides useful recommendations for improving the scheme and ensuring that victims receive adequate compensation for the harm caused to them. It is important for the government to consider these recommendations and take appropriate steps to improve the victim compensation scheme in India.

This Article is Written by Nawvi K, pursuing B.A. LL.B from Alliance University, Bangalore during her internship at Le Droit India


[1] (1995) 1 SCC 14)

[2] https://main.sci.gov.in/jonew/judis/16557.pdf

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