Status of Victim in India
Right from the inception of the judicial system it has been accepted that discovery, justification with proof and establishment of truth are the main purposes underlying the existence of the courts of justice. The operative principle is fair trial and justice to both, the accused and the victim of crime. Application of this principle involves a delicate judicial balancing of competing interests of the accused; the public and the victim. Where an offence is committed, the state seizes the accused and brings him for trial. If found guilty, he is convicted and sentenced to undergo punishment.
Does this complete the wheel of criminal justice? What about the crime victims? Traditionally, it may have been sufficient that the criminal is caught and punished. But the modern approach is to also focus on the victims of crime.
Present Status of Victims in India
Since last several years, some amendments have been made in criminal laws in India giving some rights to crime victims at different stages of criminal justice system but so far as status of crime victims in criminal justice system in India is concerned, it is inadequate and requires legislative attention. A crime victim has right to oppose the release of accused on bail but he has no right or status to be informed if bail is filed. Except in few matters, he is not a necessary party in criminal revisions, appeals or writs filed by accused. His evidence is necessary for recording conviction of accused but he need not be informed for hearing on the point of sentence. He is entitled to get compensation, he has no vested right to be heard. A victim has no status to watch the trial. There are definite places for judge, prosecutor, defence lawyer, accused and staff of court in court-room but no place has been assigned to Victim in court-room to watch the progress of trial.