Compensation to victims of crime


The basic object of criminal justice is to protect the society against the crime and to punish the pendal however equal concern to the victims of crime who have suffered loss or injury and the distress of their dependent do not attract the attention of law.
However the Supreme Court of India has played the most commendable role in evolving compensatory jurisprudence for the victims. Supreme Court interpreted right of victim to compensation as integral part of Article 21 in the landmark case of Rudal Shah versus state of Bihar, 1983 SC, Nilabatii Behara versus state of Orissa,1993 SC etc.

Who is a Victim?

A victim is a person or group of persons who has suffered harm or damage such as physical mental emotional financial or violation of his/her fundamental rights in the course of or due to commission of crime.
The term victim has been defined in the code of criminal procedure 1973 under section 2 (wa) of CrPC Amendment Act, 2008 as :
victim means 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 heirs.
Justice system requires that a person who has suffered must be compensated the idea underline compensatory justice is not nearly to rehabilitate in the victim but also and tightening the victim to some form of compensation.



The compensation in present context means payment of money for the loss sustained to compensate the victime for the loss and injury or anything given to make things equivalent to remuneration or pay.
The main objective of giving compensation to the victim is to restore the victim in his pre-state if possible and to make the loss and injury good

Legal provisions for victim compensation in India:

The idea of compensation to the victim can be traced back from the time of Manusmriti. Even during British period victims of criminal offences but not totally in neglected and paid compensation.

International provisions:

  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • International Covenant on civil and political rights
  • International Covenant on economic, social and cultural rights
  • The convention on eliminating all forms of discrimination against women and children to which India is signatory, imposes obligation of offering and effective criminal justice system to its citizens on India. This includes the concept of legal remedy to the victim.

The United Nations declaration of basic principles of justice for victims of crime and Abuse of power of 1985 recognises for types of rights of victims of crime :

  • Access to justice and fair treatment
  • Right to restitution
  • Personal assistance and support services
  • Compensation

Constitutional provisions:

Constitution of India 1950 provides for certain safeguards to the victims of crime under Article 14 and 21. Article 21 of Indian constitution guarantees against unjustified deprivation of life and liberty and has element in it which puts obligation on the state to compensate victims of criminal violence.
In the case of Bheem Singh vs State of Jammu and Kashmir,1985 SC
The supreme court has interpreted that making compensation to the victim is an integral aspect of right to life provided under Article 21 of the constitution.

Legislative provisions:

The provisions relating to compensation to victims of crime are provided under section 357, 357(1),357(2),357(3), 357 A , 358, 359 and 250 of code of criminal procedure,1973.
Section 357 a CrPC was added by an amendment in the year 2009. It provides that the state government in coordination with Central Government shall prepare a scheme for providing funds for the purpose of compensation to the victim.
The code also provide compensatory relief to victims of unlawful arrest or detention by police without sufficient cause under section 358.
Where an accused is convicted for a noncognizable offence on a complaint, the court may order him to pay costs to the complainant or in default suffer simple imprisonment for a period not exceeding 30 days under section 359, crpc.


Under the victim compensation scheme when an application for compensation is made to the court by the victim and the court finds that victim is worthy of compensation or any interim compensation during the proceeding,
it may make recommendation to the District legal service authority or the State legal service authority and
the quantum of compensation shall be decided and made respectively by the authority under the scheme made by State Government in coordination with Central government.

Amount of compensation:

As per the scheme whenever a recommendation is made by the court for compensation to the victim the district legal service authority or the state legal service authority as the case maybe decides the quantum of compensation to be awarded.
The amount of compensation will increase by 50% if the victim is below 14 years of agr.

Success of Victim Compensation Scheme :

This statistics on victim compensation scheme shows that in spite of a lapse of more than 5 years in many states the scheme has not shown the response which was expected. For instance, the number of applications in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Goa, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are very low. On the contrary Delhi, Karnataka, Odisha and Tamilnadu indicate impressive number of applications signifying increased awareness of the scheme.

Ankush Shivaji Gaikwad vs State of Maharashtra , 2013 SC
It was held that the legislative intent of the provisions relating to victim compensation was to reassure the victim that he is not a forgotten party in the criminal justice system.


The victim compensation in India is still the vanishing point of our criminal law. The remedies available under the law are limited and uncoordinated. The coordination between various organs of Justice i e. the court, advocates, police, District legal service authority, State legal service authority must be streamlined. Each institution must inform and assist the victim in realising compensation.

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