States directed to implement the Victim Compensation Scheme as per Section 357A CrPC

Supreme Court: Considering the need for implementation of the victim compensation scheme, the bench comprising of Adarsh K.Goel and V. Gopala Gowda, JJ held that it is the duty of the Courts, on taking cognizance of a criminal offence, to ascertain whether there is tangible material to show commission of crime, whether the victim is identifiable and whether the victim of crime needs immediate financial relief, thereby granting interim compensation subject to final compensation being determined later.

L. Nageshwar Rao, the Additional Solicitor General for India, while assisting the Court in the matter, submitted that even though Section 357A CrPC was enacted five years ago, but the victim compensation scheme has still not become the rule and the Courts are also not granting the interim compensation to the victims. It was also brought into the Court’s notice that 25 out of 29 States had notified the victim compensation schemes, thereby specifying the maximum limit of compensation and leaving the discretion to decide the quantum of compensation with the State/District Legal Service Authorities, subject to the maximum limit. However, it was submitted that the upper limit of compensation fixed by some of the States was arbitrarily low and was not in keeping with the object of the legislation.

Taking note of the aforementioned submissions, the Court opined that there was a need to consider upward revision in the scale for compensation and that a copy of this judgment be forwarded to National Judicial Academy so that all judicial officers in the country can be imparted requisite training to make the provision operative and meaningful. 

In the present case, where the family member of the deceased persons, who had been kidnapped and murdered, had asked for compensation, the Court ordered that interim compensation of Rs. 10 lacks be given to them by the Haryana State Legal Service Authority within one month from the date of the order. Suresh v. State of Haryana, 2014 SCC OnLine SC 952, decided on 28.11.2014

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