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Title: Towards Constitutionalising the Rights of Victims
Other Titles: Indian Journal of Law and Justice, Vol. 11 No. 1 (Part I), March 2020, p 137 - 151
Authors: Shaw, Rohini
Dube, Dipa
Keywords: Victim assistance
adversarial system
criminal justice system
victim rights
sexual violence
Issue Date: Mar-2020
Publisher: University of North Bengal
Abstract: “It is a weakness of our jurisprudence that victims of crime and the distress of the dependents of the victims do not attract the attention of the law. In fact, victim reparation is still the vanishing point of our criminal law.”(Krishna Iyer J. in Rattan Singh v. State of PunjabAIR 1980 SC 84) The words of Justice Iyer still hold good. The Indian criminal justice system based on the adversarial model of justice dispensation, focuses heavily on the rights of the accused, while sidelining the victim’s interests. Representing the latter, the state undertakes the responsibility to prosecute and punish the offenders, as crimes are deemed to be against the state. Victims are not allowed to take active role in the trial process. Following the 1985 UN Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice to Victims and Abuse of Power, a milestone was achieved in the recognition of victims’ rights and justice. Closely following suit, the Indian laws underwent radical changes to include victim’s right to appeal, compensation, appoint advocate, oppose bail etc. Inspite of the amendments, the plight of victims remain pitiable with sparring changes made at the ground level. The police, prosecution and other service providers fail to provide necessary assistance to victims. It is time that the victims should effectively find mention in the Constitutional document so as to create an overarching obligation on the State to respect their rights.
ISSN: 0976-3570
Appears in Collections:Vol.11 No. 1 Part 1 (March 2020)

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