Can’t compromise dispute with complainant in victim’s absence: Punjab and Haryana High Court : The Tribune India

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Can’t compromise dispute with complainant in victim’s absence: Punjab and Haryana High Court

High Court also makes it clear that the victim is a ‘necessary joinder’ for a compromise with the accused

Can’t compromise dispute with complainant in victim’s absence: Punjab and Haryana High Court

Photo for representational purpose only. Tribune file



Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, February 27

In a significant judgment on the rights of a victim in criminal matters, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that the impact of settlement between the accused and the complainant on the sufferer and the society cannot be ignored. Justice Sandeep Moudgil also made it clear that the victim was a “necessary joinder” for a compromise with the accused.

“A voice has been given to victims of crime by Parliament and the judiciary and that voice needs to be heard, and if not already heard, it needs to be raised to a higher decibel so that it is clearly heard,” Justice Moudgil observed.

The assertions came as Justice Moudgil recalled an order vide which an FIR was quashed after making it clear that the compromise between the accused and the complainant was not binding on the victim as it was entered without his knowledge and participation

Justice Moudgil asserted the terms "victim" and "complainant" had been used and construed in the Code of Criminal Procedure differently and distinctly. A victim could be a complainant. But it might not be necessarily that every complainant was a victim.

Justice Moudgil asserted the court exercising its powers could not be oblivious of the fact that the impact of acceptance of a settlement between the accused and the complainant only on the society and the victim should not be ignored

Referring to a judgment on a victim’s right to file appeal, the Bench quoted the Supreme Court as observing that there was a need to give adequate representation to them in criminal proceedings. Justice Moudgil added: “The right of victims, and indeed victimology, is an evolving jurisprudence and it is more than appropriate to move forward in a positive direction, rather than stand still or worse, take a step backward…. It cannot be gainsaid that the rights of a victim under the amended CrPC are substantive, enforceable, and are another facet of human rights.

Justice Moudgil added these rights were totally independent, incomparable, and not accessory or auxiliary to those of the State under the CrPC. The victim could not be asked to await the commencement of trial for asserting his right to participate in the proceedings. He had a legally vested right to be heard at every step post the occurrence of an offence. Such a victim had unbridled participatory rights from the stage of investigation till the culmination of the proceedings in an appeal or revision.

“Today, the rights of an accused far outweigh the rights of the victim of an offence in many respects. There needs to be some balancing of the concerns and equalizing their rights so that the criminal proceedings are fair to both,” Justice Moudgil observed.

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