A person with suffering caused by any other person or action is considered as a victim .The grievance of the suffering arises due to harm, injury , death as a result of crime, etc.
The victim can be understood from different perspective as below :
A. Dictionary Meaning
The meaning of victim under The Oxford English dictionary is
“a person harmed, injured or killed as a result of crime, accident, etc.” The word ‘victim’ primarily indicates ‘suffering”
B. Definition in Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
Whereas, under Section 2(wa) of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 a victim is defined as
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 guardin or legal heir.
C. Constitution of India
The rights of victim is well protected under Article of 21 of the Constitution of India .This was also aired by Honourable Supreme Court from time to time with various rights and compensation as below :
- In Nirmal Singh Kahilon v. State of Punjab, wherein the Hon’ble Apex Court observed that the right to fair investigation and trial is applicable to the accused as well as the victim and such a right to a victim is provided under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Hence , a victim should command a fair investigation .
- In Sukhdev Singh vs. State of Punjab, the concept of restorative justice was emphasised with awarding of compensation or restitution or enhanced the amount of compensation to victims as well.The same was also upheld by Balraj vs . State of U. P.& Giani Ram vs. State of Haryana .
- In Bodhisattwa Gautam vs . Subhra Chakraborty, their Lordhsip held that while trying an offence of rape, the courts have also as jurisdiction to award compensation at the final stage. It also suggested that the courts of law can also award an interim compensation to such victims.
In order to carry out the rights created under Article 21 of the Constitution of India , Criminal Procedure Code of 1973 has inbuilt provisions under Sections 154(2), 160, 190, 357A,406, 439 & 482 .
D. Jurists On Victims
It is pertinent to note that Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer has highlighted the suffering of a victim as under :
The criminal law in India is not victim oriented and the suffering of the victim, often immeasurable is entirely overlooked in misplaced sympathy for the criminal. Though our modern criminal law is designed to punish as well as reform the criminals, yet it overlooks the by-product of crime i.e. the victims
E. Rights of Victim
The rights of the victims are also protected under various provisions under respective legislations as below :
i) Sections 154(2), 160, 190, 357A,406, 439 & 482 under Criminal Procedure Code of 1973
ii) Section 4 of SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989,
iii) Section 9 of Evidence Act ,
iv) Section 12(1) and 13(1) of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987,
v)Section 195-A of Indian Penal Code ,
vi) The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 etc
F. Compensation Laws
The following laws provide compensations to the victims in India :
i)Fatal Accidents Act, 1855,
ii) Motor Vehicles Act, 1988,
iii) Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 ,
iv) Probation of Offenders Act, 1958,and
v) Constitutional remedies for human rights’ violations
It is pertinent to mention that for last many years , various laws and provisions have evolved to the safeguard victoms but at the same courts of law in India and more particularly the Supreme Court of India has taken a proactive role to protect the equal rights of victims as provided under Article 14 of the Constitution i.e equal protection of laws, prevent abuse of power & also check the proper process of law with the victims.