hand, finger, victim-1616231.jpg

All individuals who have been a victim of crime have had themselves and their families affected, significantly making monetary misfortunes to the people in question. And the effect of these crimes and wrongdoings on the people in question and their families goes from genuine physical and mental wounds to perpetual aggravations. These consequences should immediately be changed and adhered to by giving care and attention to those affected through several measures and laws, giving them simple admittance to equity. Even if they have observed help and help from their family, clan, or the local area, they have, all things considered, stayed “failed to be a remembered individual” in the criminal justice administration system.


Within the Indian legal framework, the term victim is defined under Section 2(wa) of the CrPC, 1973 as ‘individual who has endured hurt, either physical or mental injury, torment, financial misfortune or infringement of their freedom, through acts or oversights viewed as violative of Indian criminal regulations including those regulations that endorse criminal maltreatment of influence’. The U.N Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power, on 29 November 1985 gave an extensive definition to the victim ‘as a person who, individually or collectively, have suffered harm, including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss, or substantial impairment of their fundamental rights, through acts or omissions that are in violations of criminal laws operative within member states, including those laws proscribing criminal abuse of power’.


The law enforcement framework which India has adopted stems from what the British called the ‘adversarial legal system’. The working of the Indian law enforcement framework relies upon the four support points and these four points of support are police, prosecution, judiciary, and the correctional institutions. For fair and speedy outcomes, these four points of support need to work actually by coordinating one another. The two primary criminal laws of India are the Indian Penal Code, 1860 which characterizes the offense and gives its discipline and the other is Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 which recommends the technique for examination, indictment, and a criminal preliminary. The middle has the ability to make regulations and change criminal regulations under the Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution. However, it is mostly catered to the rights of the accused and altogether ignores that of the victim in the delivery of justice.


There seems to be a mismatch when it comes to the protection of the accused and the victim. If anything, it appears that the Indian Criminal Justice System has more rights reserved for the accused. This includes different privileges, safeguards, and shields given by the Code of Criminal Procedural Law like the right against self-incrimination, the presumption of innocence, the right to legal assistance, and the others like the ‘right to fair trial’ such as the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, right of the accused to be informed of charges before the trial and the right to a lawyer and be defended, etc. Even the accused is heavily guarded under Articles 20, 21, and 22 of the Constitution.

Thus, it has been said many times that the victim’s role is merely reduced to being a ‘witness’ and has limited rights during criminal proceedings. A case example can be Parvinder Kansal vs State of NCT of Delhi (2020), where the father of the deceased son gave an appeal to enhance the imprisonment sentence of the accused but it was denied on the ground that the victim does not have such right to do so regarding the present provisions in the CRPC. Prior to this, there were recommendations given by the Malimath Committee and the Law Commission, where the legislature inserted a provision in section 372 of the Code through the Amendment Act of 2008 to provide victims their right of appeal and again the National Commission of Women to seek enhancement of appeals.


The definition of the victim provided under the CRPC proves to be insufficient and restricted comparatively to one given by the UN Declaration adopted by the General Assembly. The rights defined for the victim under this includes access to justice and fair treatment, Compensation, Victim’s assistance inter alia, for countries to have a guideline to trace. But India’s system has barely been touching these minimal standards and norms.

It was after many studies about whether victims who have been compensated were satisfied or not like in cases of gang robbers, motor accidents, etc. Issues regarding women victim issues led to mobilizations and protests in the past years resulting in amendments and numerous organizations being formed and introduced like protection of women against acid attacks (Sec. 326A20 and 326B21), voyeurism (Sec. 345C), stalking (Sec. 345D) and sexual harassment (Sec. 345A), and expanded the definition of rape (Sec. 375) under the Indian Penal Code as an addition to the existing
the victim’s right to compensation.


Considering the fact that India follows a Common Law system where it is subjected to transformations based on the context and case situations, it is not surprising to determine that the accused is sometimes labeled as a ‘victim’, therefore multiple rights are conferred to them. Keeping that aside, the scenario of the accused having more rights than the victim itself should not be ignored where the system should give importance, if not more to the victim.

However, it is important that the system comes up with different acts and comprehensive plans and programs to cater to the needs of the victim. This can be done through emotional and financial assistance. The support points of law enforcement which are the police, lawyers and prosecutors, NGOs, etc. should be effective in their field of work and correct the flaw of delay. Corresponding to commendable actions taken by the system sometimes, more distributions should be made to the study of ‘victimology’ for expansion so that further steps can be ventured into protecting
the victims.

Written by Tingjin Marak, a student at Ajeenkya DY Patil University, Pune.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *