The Supreme Court will examine if a Court can direct an accused to compensation to a victim as a condition for bail grant. The Court will examine this issue raised in a Special Leave Petition filed against a Gujarat High Court order.
The genesis of the Case:-
In the instant Case, while granting bail to a murder accused, The Gujrat High Court observed that a deceased victim’s representatives/heirs should be compensated by State/accused as per amended law provisions. The Bench remarked that while considering the allegations mentioned in the FIR, and without going into evidence in detail, The Court e is of the opined that the accused should deposit a sum of Rs. 2 lakh each towards compensation victims, as a condition for grant of bail.
Counsel for the applicant/accused told the Apex Court Section 357 and 357A of CrPC would apply at the stage of conviction and not at the stage of grant of bail when considering compensation for the victim(s).
While issuing notice in the Case, the Bench would examine this issue if it is a fit case for bail grant.
What is Section 357 CrPC?
According to Section 357, when a Court imposes a sentence of fine or a sentence (including a death sentence) of which a fine forms a part, the Court, when passing judgment, may order that the fine recovered should be used for the following:-
- For defraying the expenses incurred by the prosecution.
- For compensating any person for injury or loss caused by the offence.
- When a person is convicted of killing or ar abetting the suicide of a person, for payment of compensation to the victim under Fatal Accidents Act, 1855
- when any person is convicted of any offence that might include theft, criminal misappropriation, criminal breach of trust, or dishonestly received or retained, or for voluntarily assisted in disposing of, the stolen property should be restored to the rightful owner.
In 2009, the Code was amended to include Section 357A, which provides a victim compensation scheme. This amendment empowers the Court to direct the state government to compensate the victim in cases where compensation under Section 357 was not adequate or if the Case ends in acquittal, but the victim has to be rehabilitated.
However, last year Jharkhand High Court ruled that an order under Section 357A cannot be passed at the stage of grant of bail.