Criminal Victimization

CRIMINAL VICTIMIZATION

INTRODUCTION

Victimization is defined as causing someone to be treated unfairly or made to feel as if he is in a bad position. It is the process of being victimized or becoming a victim. The field that studies the process, rates, incidence, effects, and prevalence of Victimization is called victimology.

Regarding the Indian Criminal Justice System, the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 has been deficient in defining ‘Victim’. Even ideas of Victimization is also left to the academician and nothing substantial is reflected other in the substantive law or procedural safeguards Section 2(a) of Code of Criminal Procedure[1] defines a victim as the person who suffered any loss and the expression victim includes his or her guardian or legal heir.

“Oxford English Dictionary defines the victim “as a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of crime, accident, etc. The idea of Victim through international conventions is also wide in its amplitude and in this regards UN General Assembly Deceleration may be quoted in Article 1 and 2 United Nations General Assembly. Deceleration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victim and Abuse of power adopted in November 1985 which gives an extensive definition of the phrase 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 thought acts or omissions that are in violation of criminal laws operative within member states including those laws prescribing criminal abuse of power.

The concept of a fair trial under works on the principle of “audi alteram partem , which means that no decision shall be given against a party without affording him a reasonable hearing. This rule is unable to meet ends of justice as the truth remains unheard and this has been proved time and again. The erroneous decisions given by courts and thereafter an unending battle to get justice which even if won is actually lost. This shows that the lives of innocent people are on the mercy of courts and this due procedure established has nothing righteous and just about it as laid down under Article 21 of the Constitution.

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INSTANCES

The cases of criminal victimization are still prevalent and gross miscarriage of justice takes place. In a recent case of “Gopal @ Gopi Ramdas Shetye vs. The State of Maharashtra[2], where the accused was an innocent man and was convicted of the offense of rape which he never did. In pursuance of conviction, he served 7 years in jail until his plea was finally heard In the High Court of Bombay where he was finally acquitted. After going through all this mental agony and as well physical pain this man again filed a petition in 2017 asking for euthanasia.

The case was filled in 2009 and the decision of acquittal came in 2015, after completing the sentence, and then being acquitted for the same was of no use to the man. His children were forced to live in an orphanage and his wife remarried. He even asked for the compensation for the injustice done to him but with snail – pace his petition was being dealt with hence he decided to go for petition giving him permission to end his life. This all brings about the terrifying picture wherein can be put in most clichéd way that justice delayed is justice denied, as well as err in giving decision cost a man his life and whatever he had thereby.

At the receiving end of such judicial arbitrariness and irresponsibility are the families of the innocent victims of persecution, hounded by a vengeful police force and an inefficient, corrupt intelligence apparatus.

The most recent incident in the news of Sarvajeet Singh Bedi[3] who was accused of false molestation charges and after his four years of struggle was acquitted of the charges. In these 4 years of time, he lost his job and suffered huge mental trauma. The definition of justice has evolved considerably wherein giving justice is not enough it should be administered in the minimum time possible too. The concept of compensation to the victims wrongly convicted should be given a thought because the mental agony, lost reputation, time spent in jail, and the families suffering along with them, these losses can never be made good by only justice being given. The lacunas present in the justice system should be dealt with immediately because these lead to a miscarriage of justice.

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A bench of justices Dipak  Misra and R. Banumathi[4], rejected the appeal for compensation on the grounds that acquittal by a court did not automatically entitle those acquitted to compensation and if compensation is to be awarded for acquittal, it will set a ‘dangerous  precedent.’

The judges can always make a distinction between the cases where compensation needs to be awarded or not. It has far-reaching consequences and implies that the state can easily get away with irresponsible acts of hauling up innocent citizens and putting them behind bars for years until justice is given or even the extreme cases could be of fake encounters.

CONCLUSION

The major problem which can be one of the root causes of improper administration of justice, the strength of judges in lower courts, considered to be the backbone of the justice delivery system, is extremely less. The figures state that there are approximately 48 judges over 10 lakh people in Delhi and the condition of other states is even worse. This all increases the workload and hence all the cases are treated as a burden rather than been looked upon as a circumstance where justice is to be administered.

Law is made to ensure stability in the society, the persons who are victims of the law, for whom justice so administered is not justice should be dealt with immediately and in the first place not allowing such injustice to happen should be a concern for the judiciary. Judiciary should not be an oppressor but a savior.

[1] Added by The Criminal Procedure Amendments Act 2008

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[2] No. 902.ApealNo.5252010(J) (High Court of Bombay, 6-10-2015)

[3] https://www.indiatimes.com/trending/human-interest/jasleen-kaur-case-sarvjeet-singh-bedi-acquitted-378573.html

[4] 5 July 2016

Author: Akanksha Anand,
Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies, 4th year/ Student

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