Coming to the rescue of victims in criminal cases, the Kerala High Court on Thursday observed that the judiciary focuses more on the rights of the criminal rather than that of victims.
“It is no wonder that even at present the entire focus of the criminal justice system is on the offender: to punish him or to seek his reformation and rehabilitation with all the resources and goodwill available. However, the victims of the crime are forgotten,” the Bench said.
A Division Bench comprising Justice K T Sankaran and Justice B Kemal Pasha made the observation while upholding the order of the Ernakulam Additional Sessions Court awarding life sentence to the accused in DYFI activist Vidhyadharan murder case. The Bench pointed out that a victim hardly has any role in the criminal trial, though there is an increasing awareness now that the victim must be given rightful participation opportunity.
“It has to be realised that the victims must be accorded dignity and respect by criminal law agencies, especially the police and courts. Restoration of the losses to the victims should also be a criterion in imposing sentence when the courts are not helpless to award the amount of fine, out of which they can be adequately compensated. Not only retributive justice, but also restitutive justice in the form of assistance to the victims should be the trend of modern courts,” it said.
In Vidhyadharan murder case, the young man was brutally killed by the accused. Vidhyadharan’s wife became a widow at the young age of 27 and their two children lost paternal protection for ever, the court said.
The total amount of fine imposed by the Sessions Court comes to Rs 1,50,000, out of which payment of Rs 1,25,000 to Vidhyadharan’s wife was ordered.