SC to examine the scope of Section 357 and 357-A of CrPC before Trial

Approach of Art.136 Cannot Be Adopted While Deciding Petitions by The High Court Under Art.227: SC

Case: Dharmesh @ Dharmendra @ Dhamo Jagdishbhai @ Jagabhai Bhagubhai Ratadia & Anr. Vs. State Of Gujarat 

Citation: [SLP (Crl.) No(S). 673/2021]

Coram: Hon’ble Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Hon’ble Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Hon’ble Justice Hrishikesh Roy

In a case the Gujarat High Court while granting bail to a murder accused observed that the representatives of the victim who is deceased are to be compensated according to the amended provisions of law. It was observed that “Considering the nature of allegations made against the applicants in the FIR, without discussing the evidence in detail, prima facie, this Court is of the opinion that this is a fit case to exercise the discretion and enlarge the applicants on regular bail on condition that the applicants shall deposit Rs. 2 lakhs each towards compensation to the victim(s) before the learned trial Court within a period of three months.”

It was submitted before the Apex Court bench that Section 357 and Section 357-A of the Criminal Procedure Code will not apply to any stage of the conviction or granting of the bail in relation to payment of compensation to the victim. The court said that it would like to examine this issue and also the issue of whether the case is fit for granting of bail or not.

Section 357:

  1. When a Court imposes a sentence of fine or a sentence (including a sentence of death) of which fine forms a part, the Court may, when passing judgment, order the whole or any part of the fine recovered to be applied-
  1. in defraying the expenses properly incurred in the prosecution;
  2. in the payment to any person of compensation for any loss or injury caused by the offence, when compensation is, in the opinion of the Court, recoverable by such person in a Civil Court;
  3. when any person is convicted of any offence for having caused the death of another person or of having abetted the commission of such an offence, in paying compensation to the persons who are, under the Fatal Accidents Act, 1855 (13 of 1855 ), entitled to recover damages from the person sentenced for the loss resulting to them from such death;
  4. when any person is convicted of any offence which includes theft, criminal misappropriation, criminal breach of trust, or cheating, or of having dishonestly received or retained, or of having voluntarily assisted in disposing of, stolen property knowing or having reason to believe the same to be stolen, in compensating any bona fide purchaser of such property for the loss of the same if such property is restored to the possession of the person entitled thereto.
  1. If the fine is imposed in a case which is subject to appeal, no such payment shall be made before the period allowed for presenting the appeal has elapsed, or, if an appeal be presented, before the decision of the appeal.
  2. When a Court imposes a sentence, of which fine does not form a part, the Court may, when passing judgment, order the accused person to pay, by way of compensation, such amount as may be specified in the order to the person who has suffered any loss or injury by reason of the act for which the accused person has been so sentenced.
  3. An order under this section may also be made by an Appellate Court or by the High Court or Court of Session when exercising its powers of revision.
  4. At the time of awarding compensation in any subsequent civil suit relating to the same matter, the Court shall take into account any sum paid or recovered as compensation under this section.

In 2009 the code was amended. Through this amendment compensation scheme for the victim was introduced. It empowered the court to direct State to pay compensation to the victim in cases where the compensation under Section 357 was not enough.

Kaveesha Kaveesha
I am Kaveesha, a student of B.A LL.B (Hons.) from Dharmashastra National Law University, Jabalpur. Knowledge is like an endless ocean and I try to fill my cup with it as much as possible. I believe one should not only aspire to be a student of law but a student of justice as well.