Silchar, Oct 7: So far there has been no legal provision to extend fincial relief to the victims of crimil offences and the members of their family or dependents who have to suffer in silently. On the other hand, persons guilty of offences or crimes are punished by law. They may be sentenced to imprisonment or fine or both including death sentence. In many cases, an accused gets acquittal. But the victims of their offences as a tural course of justice deserve some sympathy on humanitarian ground. In the event of the death of a victim, his family members, dependents and children become helpless and fight for survival.
In order to facilitate them to survive and also for their rehabilitation, Section 357-A has been inserted by the parliamentarians in the Code of Crimil Procedure 1073. On the strength of this legal provision, the competent court can award compensation to the victims of convicts and their crimes for their survival including treatment to the injured. Provision of interim compensation to the affected has also been made, pointed out Dr M H Barbhuiya, secretary of the District Legal services Authority of Cachar.
The State of Assam drew up a scheme known as Victims’ Compensation Scheme, 2012 which was amended in 2014. It clearly specifies the amount of compensation that may be awarded to those admissible under it after obtaining the details of the persons as well as their subsequent demise, if any, along with those of their family members or dependents. In case of death, the amount may be up to Rs 3 lakh, rape-victim Rs 3 lakh and acid attack victim Rs 3 lakh. On account of loss of limb, the compensation amount ranges from Rs ten thousand to Rs twenty five thousand, depending upon its ture.
The Session Judge, Additiol Session Judge and other judges working in the district of Cachar recommended considerable amount to the victims of murder, rape and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act injury among others. Some victims directly filed petitions before the District Legal Services Authority for compensation. After examining their papers from all angles, the Authority in fit and deserving cases awarded interim compensation also.
At a simple function recently graced by the legal lumiries and attended by the victims or beneficiaries, twenty among them have been paid compensation in part. Account payee cheques have been paid to them, totalling an amount of Rs. 2.70 lakh only. For payment of the remaining amount of Rs 21.41 lakh, the Cachar Authority will take up the matter with the State Legal Services Authority, Guwahati. Owing to lack of fund, the entire amount could not be paid.
Despite all the pains and agonies of the victims, it was a moment of gratification for them or their survivors to receive the cheques. Kamalendu Choudhury, chairman of District Legal Services Authority, Dr M H Barbhuiya, secretary, and other judicial officers handed over the cheques to the beneficiaries. All of them expressed their satisfaction with the scheme and the system.