Can Compensation awarded to the Victim be released pending Appeal of the Convict? [READ JUDGMENT OF SC]

A Bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Shubhash Reddy of Supreme Court has decided the question of release of compensation amount to the Victim pending appeal of accused against the conviction order. The Judgment came in the case of Dalbir Singh vs State of NCT Delhi and Others (Criminal Appeal 550-554 of 2020).

Background:

The criminal appeals were filed by the complainant, aggrieved by the common order dated 09.12.2019 passed by the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi in Crl.A.No.537 of 2019, Crl.A.No.624 of 2019, Crl.A.No.622 of 2019, Crl.A.No.488 of 2019 and Crl.A.No.499 of 2019, in rejecting the claim made by the appellant for release of Rs. 6 Lacs total compensation, which was awarded under Section 357(3) of Cr.P.C., in order dated 20.03.2019 passed by the Addl. Sessions Judge, FTC Court,Shandara. Against the conviction recorded and sentence imposed by the Trial Court, criminal appeals were preferred by the accused, and the same are pending before the High Court.

The Court Held:

we are of the considered view that it is not desirable to release such compensation in favour of the appellant, at this stage because the compensation awarded in the order dated 20.03.2019 is in exercise of power under Section 357(3) Cr.P.C. 1973 and as the order dated 20.03.2019 is under challenge in criminal appeals pending before the High Court, therefore If we permit the release of such compensation to the appellant at this stage, it may lead to multiplicity of proceedings.

Ultimately the Appeal was disposed off with the direction to expeditiously decide the criminal appeal pending before the High Court preferably within 6 months.

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