A petition has been filed before the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Government to enact law for compensation and rehabilitation of the people who are acquitted having been languished in jails for wrongful prosecution and incarceration for years and years.
The purpose of the petition is to compensate and rehabilitate those persons who are the victim of legal system, those accused who were later acquitted after spending many years in the jail and who have lost their respect, faced agony and are often seen far behind in the society.
The petition has also asked for interpretation of Section 2(w) which defines the term “victim” and Section 357-A of the Criminal Procedure Code 1973 which provides for victim compensation scheme. According to the petitioners, the State Government in co- ordination with the Central Government should prepare a scheme for providing funds for the purpose of compensation to the victim or his dependants who require rehabilitation after having suffered loss or injury as a result of the crime.
According to the petitioner, when people who are wrongfully prosecuted and the delay in the legal system leads to the accused languishing in jail, it violates their fundamental right to life and liberty under Article 21 of Constitution of India, and their right to equality under Article 14 of the Constitution. Therefore, in situations like these, some amount of compensation or rehabilitation scheme would help the victim of the system to gain back their reputation and build a fruitful life again with dignity.
The petition has also cited provisions of Article 14 of the ICCPR as discussed by United Nations Human Rights Committee and was explained that “it is necessary that States parties enact legislature ensuring that compensation as required by this provision can in fact be paid and the payment is made within a reasonable time”
According to the data of the National Crime Relations Bureau also, under trial prisoners across the country continue to be higher in numbers than the convict’s population and while the conviction rate was at 48% , more than 50% was that of acquittal.Therefore according to the petition, people who have been failed by the legal system should be compensated and rehabilitated.
The petition has been filed by Advocate Mithilesh Kumar Singh on behalf of the petitioner Yash Giri, who is a resident of Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
-India Legal Bureau
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