New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday asked
courts to liberally award monetary compensation to victims in
criminal cases, saying failure to pay the amount by the accused
could make him liable for further imprisonment.
A bench of Justices P Sathasivam and H L Dattu in a
judgement urged the courts to exercise the powers of awarding
monetary compensation "liberally" to render justice to the
victims in criminal cases.
The apex court noted that though such powers are vested
under Section 357(3) of the CrPC, they are seldom used by
"It is an important provision but courts have seldom
invoked it. Perhaps due to ignorance of the object of it. It
empowers the court to award compensation to victims while
passing judgment of conviction. In addition to conviction, the
court may order the accused to pay some amount by way of
compensation to the victim who has suffered by the action of
"It may be noted that this power of courts to award
compensation is not ancillary to other sentences but it is in
addition thereto. This power was intended to do something to
reassure the victim that he or she is not forgotten in the
criminal justice system", it said.
The bench said monetary compensation "is a measure of
responding appropriately to crime as well of reconciling the
victim with the offender. It is, to some extent, a
constructive approach to crimes. It is indeed a step forward
in our criminal justice system. We, therefore, recommend to
all courts to exercise this power liberally so as to meet the
ends of justice in a better way".