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Compensation to the Victim Must Be a Methodology for Redemption in Cases under the Offences against the body

Court Name: The Supreme Court of India

Citations: Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction (Criminal Appeal No. 432 of 2021) JURISDICTIONCRIMINAL [APPEAL NO.432 OF 2021]

Case Name: Dharmesh Dharmendra, Dhamo Jagdishbhai Jagabhai Bhagubhai Ratadia & Anr. vs. The State of Gujarat

Judgement date – July 07, 2021.

Judges/bench – Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta

Brief facts of the Case –

An unfortunate series took place between rival groups which ultimately led to two casualties. An FIR was recorded in Amreli Police Station in which 13 people including the current appellants were also accused and were charged under Sections 302, 307, 324, 323, 506(2), 504, 143, 144, 147, 148, 149, 120B and 34 of the IPC just as Section 135(ii) of the Gujarat Police Act. The appellants were captured. They applied for bail and they were conceded bail by the High Court.

Notwithstanding, the High Court forced a bail condition which required them to deposit Rs 2 Lac each, as remuneration to the people in question, within a time period of 90 days. Aggrieved by this order, the appellants moved to the Supreme Court to seek remedy.

Contentions of the Plaintiff/s

  1. The counsel on behalf of the appellant contended that in the previously mentioned situation according to clause (d) of sub-section(1) of Section 357 of the CrPC the said sum could be used to pay for any misfortune or injury brought about by the offence when such sum would be recoverable in a common court.
  2. In the aforesaid context, it was pointed out that the essential requirements under this section are: (a) imposition of fine or sentence; (b) the aforesaid would naturally be at the time of passing of the judgment; (c) orders the whole or any part of the fine be recovered.
  3. The Court’s consideration was likewise invited to sub-section (3) of Section 357 CrPC. The learned counsel on behalf of the appellant contended that under Section 357 CrPC, remuneration can just emerge after the finish of the trial and without the completion of the trial there can’t be a sentence and, in this way, there cannot be any such compensation to be paid.
  4. It was also brought to the court’s notice that the Supreme Court, in the case of Palaniappa Gounder v. State of Tamil Nadu &Ors. had opined that the nature of the crime committed, the seriousness of injury suffered, the reasonability of the claim, capacity to pay and other relevant circumstances must be taken by the court while fixing the amount of fine or compensation to be paid to the victim. In order to consider such aspects the person so convicted needs to be heard on these aspects and that would naturally post the conviction.

Principles and observations of the Court –

In the present case the bench noted that in any case of offence against the body, compensation to the victim must be a methodology for redemption. However, the bench stated: “To prevent unnecessary harassment, compensation has been provided where meaningless criminal proceedings had been started. Such compensation can hardly be determined at the stage of grant of bail.”

The bench further stated, “We may hasten to add that we are not saying that no monetary condition can be imposed for grant of bail. We say so as there are cases of offences against property or otherwise but that cannot be compensated to be deposited and disbursed as if that grant has to take place as a condition of the person being enlarged on bail.”

Judgement held- 

The bench stated in its order that the compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the legal heirs of the victims, naturally cannot be sustained and has to be set aside.

The bench further remarked, We consider it appropriate to impose the same terms and conditions for grant of bail upon the appellants and set aside condition of the bail requiring the appellants to deposit Rs 2 lakh each towards compensation to the victims before the trial court and the consequential orders for disbursement.

The bench also imposed another condition that the appellants shall not enter the Amreli for the next six months apart from making an appearance before the concerned police station and making a presentation during the court hearings.

My Opinion

In my opinion, this Supreme Court’s judgment is a welcome step and upholds the general principles of justice and logically sets aside the order for compensation before the said trial has been completed.

Written by: Utkarsh Singh (2nd Year)

College: Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University.

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