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Victim Protection Bill : A Dormant Law

Victim Protection Bill : A Dormant Law
- Suyash Sudhir Gadgil


Victims\' rights are legal rights afforded to victims of crime. These may include the right to restitution, the right to a victim’s advocate, the right not to be excluded from criminal justice proceedings, and the right to speak at criminal justice proceedings.


In the inception, the Indian Legal System was basically punitive in nature. The adjudicating authorities were complacent either by convicting or acquitting the accused by subjecting him/her to a fair trial. During lapse of time it was found that the criminal justice system was more or less revolving around the accused and in this way the victim has been totally ignored by the court of law

Rights Of Victim:-

For the first time in the year 1985 in the General Assembly of United Nations, a declaration was made on basic principles of Justice for victims of Crime. The import of Article 21 of the constitution of India has been amplified in its application by the catena of decisions of the Honorable Apex court of India. Right of the victim was also derived from the said article. The necessity of the right of victim was felt by the courts when it was found that the victim, otherwise called as the initiator of the litigation, is losing confidence on and interest in the process of adjudication. 

Here are some Rights given to the victim:-
1. Rehabilitation 
2. Right to Participate in the Proceeding
3. Victim Protection
4. Bail

In this topic, we are going to talk about victim protection.

Victim Protection:-

The code of criminal procedure, though recognizes some rights relating to witness protection, it is silent about victim protection whereas in many countries like South Africa, France and The United States of America , there is provision for victim protection.
In some cases, the victim may be exposed to intimidation, retaliation or additional suffering due to the criminal procedure. The authorities make an assessment of the victim\'s special needs for protection duringthe criminal investigation and trial and of the protection measures required. The assessment is carried out together with the victim, and 
the victim\'s personal features and circumstances as well as the nature of the offence are taken into account.

During the criminal investigation, protection measures can be applied if they do not significantly delay the procedure or cause any other harm. One of the possible measures is to conduct questionings in separate facilities designed for that purpose. At the victim\'s request, the questionings may be conducted by the same person or persons or by a person of the same gender as the victim.
In some cases, the victim may be heard in a trial behind a screen, via video connection or without the defendant or public being present. The questioning of a victim may in some cases be video-recorded and the recording then be used as evidence in a trial, for example if the victim is under 18 years of age.

In order to protect the privacy of the victim, the court may, under certain conditions, hear a case without any public being present and order the trial documents and the judgment to be secret to the extent necessary. The victim may request this at the court. The court may in some cases also order that the identity of the victim be kept secret. This is possible for example in court proceedings related to sex offences.

The court considers the trial arrangements and protection measures always on a case-by-case basis, taking into account that the rights of the defence must not be restricted. The decision of the court may thus deviate from an earlier assessment.

If you feel threatened or harassed, you can apply for a restraining order against the person threatening you. The decision to issue a restraining order is made by a district court. A temporary restraining order with immediate effect may also be issued by the police. All possible evidence of threatening behaviour should be preserved.

In serious threatening situations, the victim may request non-disclosure of contact details, non-disclosure for personal safety reasons, or even a change of his or her name or personal identity code. Further information on these measures can be requested from the authorities or the support services for victims.

In certain serious offences, the victim has the right, at his or her request, to be notified if the prisoner or remand prisoner is released, escapes or, under certain conditions, exits the prison for some other reason. If the victim wishes to receive such a notification, he or she must inform the criminal investigation authority or prosecutor of this during the criminal proceedings. The criminal investigation authority provides further information on the matter.