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VICTIM JUSTICE IS TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK

  • In 1996, the 154th Law Commission Report suggested a paradigm shift in India’s criminal justice system towards a victim-centric notion of justice.
  • The Code of Criminal Procedure(Amendment) Act, 2009 partially accepted this suggestion and granted some rights to the victims of crime.
  • The Act introduced victims’ right to a private counsel under Section 24(8). 

International convention

  • India is a signatory to Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power.
  • The Declaration requires that the views and concerns of victims should be allowed and considered at all appropriate stages without prejudice to the accused.
  • Presently, the victims’ advocate has an extremely limited role to play wherein he “assists” the prosecutor rather than represent the interests of the victim before the court. 

Importance of victim participation

  • The success of prosecution is dependent largely upon the victim’s participation in the trial. The primary role and responsibility of the victim’s advocate therefore, is to represent the personal interests of the victim by cooperating with the prosecution.
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September 2022
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