However, with the emergence of public interest litigation the higher courts attention was drawn to this lacunae in the existing criminal justice system by social activists, and the courts started granting compensatory relief to victims of crime, but a comprehensive legislation on this aspect of criminal justice was still awaited.
Expressing concern for the plight of victims of crime Justice V.R. Krishna Iyar commented “the criminal law in India is not victim oriented and the suffering of victim, often immeasurable are entirely overlooked in misplaced sympathy for the criminal. Though our modem criminal law is designed to punish as well as reform the criminals, yet it overlooks the by-product of crime i.e. the victim.”
The Supreme Court has reiterated time and again, that a prisoner, be he a convict or an undertrial or a detenue, does not cease to be a human being even when lodged in jail and therefore, he continues to be entitled to all his fundamental rights including right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the constitution.
As such he cannot be deprived of his right to liberty in accordance with the procedure established by law, even after his conviction and imprisonment in jail. But no such concern is shown for the poor victim of crime who is left to suffer the aftermath of his victimisation except awarding him monetary compensation in certain cases.
However, the victimological developments that have taken place during the preceeding two decades and the international efforts to focus on need for restorative justice to victims have yielded positive results and the member states have started framing laws and legislative policies extending protection to the rights of crime victims.
In response to the UN Declaration, In India the Code of Criminal Procedure was amended in 2008 as to widen the definition of ‘victim’ as contained in Sec. 2 (wa) of the Code. The term victim means a person who has suffered any loss or injury caused by reason of the act or omission for which the accused person has been charged and includes his/her guardian or legal heir.