New amendments on cards to empower victims: Report

The Centre will amend the CrPC to empower victims to appeal against a court order acquitting an accused.

Updated: Dec 31, 2009, 13:10 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: The Centre will amend the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to empower victims to appeal against a court order acquitting an accused, or convicting the accused of a lesser offence, an Indian daily reported on Thursday.

“Under the amended Section 372 CrPC, the victim will not need the permission of any law enforcement or prosecuting agency to appeal a court order,” the daily reported. Till now an appeal can be made only if the prosecution decides so.

“This and other amendments were cleared by the Parliament in December last year, and they subsequently received the assent of the President. However, due to strong opposition by lawyers and some NGOs, the Home Ministry did not notify them,” it added.

The newspaper further added that the Home Ministry, which cleared the file on Wednesday, is likely to publish it in the gazette today, which will pave the way for its enforcement from January 1, 2010.

The Ministry, however, has decided not to notify two amendments to CrPC Sections 41(A) and 309, which barred police from arresting an accused for an offence that carries a maximum punishment of seven years without first issuing him/her a “notice of appearance”, it added.

On the pipeline is also an amendment of Section 357A that makes it obligatory for state governments to draw up a scheme in coordination with the Centre to provide funds for compensation to victims or their dependents. Compensation will also be awarded to victims if the offender is not caught and tried.

Other marked amendments on the line are, revision of Section 275 to facilitate video recording of witness statements in case of offences carrying a punishment of over two years, completing investigations in a child rape case within three months of registering the case only by policewomen and automatic commutation of death sentence to life by the High Court if a pregnant woman is given the death sentence, the daily added.