Should CRIME VICTIM COMPENSATION be a matter of mood or rationale?
A 26yr old law student has been beaten to death by unknown people, outside a restaurant in Allahabad. Just about a week ago, a Delhi photographer was killed by his girlfriend's father and uncle. On 20.01.2018, a school principal in Yamunanagar, was allegedly shot dead in her office by her student . There have been numerous killings across the country in the name of honour, intolerance, road rage etc in recent times. Victims of such crimes are not only the ones who directly suffer the blow but also the family members who suffer mental, physical and economic harm as a result of the illegal activities of those who inflict the harm.
The victims of such crimes have been provided certain safeguards in the Constitution of India under article 14& 21 and the laws governing compensation to these victims of crimes are contained in sections 357, 357(1), 357(2), 357(3), 357A, 358, 359 and 250 of Cr.P.C.
However, there is no uniform policy on the compensation for victims of rape, riots, fire/other accidents, murder, etc., who are rather dependent on whimsical and irrational policy of relief. When there’s no uniform policy, how is one death deemed more deserving than the other?There is an urgent need for a rationale and clear method to award compensation where claims arise from loss of life on account of failure of public authorities. Presently, due to lack of legislation, States and their officials are wriggling out of their responsibilities by awarding arbitrary amounts in compensation. However, it is incorrect to let the mood of the state or the hype created by media be the deciding factors on how much compensation is announced by the state.
In the absence of a uniform policy, politics(game of one upmanship), status of the victims or the community which they belong to or the media attention colour the decision of the state authorities in fixing the compensation amount and put a lid on such simmering controversies. It’s time to question the rationale and ask how the beneficiaries of these compensations are chosen since not all families coping with rape or murder of a loved one get treated equally.
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