Section 357 CrPC – Order to Pay Compensation

In Hari Kishan & Anr vs Sukhbir Singh & Ors on 25 August, 1988 (1988 AIR 2127, 1988 SCR Supl. (2) 571) the Supreme Court said:-

Many offenders are not dangerous criminals but are weak characters or who have surrendered to temptation or provocation. In placing such type of offenders, on probation, the Court encourages their own sense of responsibility for their future and protect them from the stigma and possible contamination of prison. In this case the High Court observed that there was no previous history of enemity between the parties and the occurrence was an outcome of a sudden flare up. The accused had no intention to commit murder of any person. Therefore, the extension of benefit of the beneficial legislation applicable to first offenders cannot be said to be inappropriate.

Section 357 CrPC – Order to pay compensation :

(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-

(a) in defraying the expenses properly incurred in the prosecution;

(b) 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;



(c) 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;

(d) 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 bonafide purchaser of such property for the loss of the same if such property is restored to the possession of the person entitled thereto.

(2) 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.

(3) When a Court imposes a sentence, of which fine does not 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.

(4) 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 power of revision.

(5) 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.

The Supreme Court further said:- Sub-section (1) of Section 357 provides power to award compensation to victims of the offence out of the sentence of fine imposed on accused. In this case. we are not concerned with sub-section (1). We are concerned only with sub-section (3). 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 victim who has suffered by the action of accused. 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 re-assure the victim that he or she is not forgotten in the criminal justice system. It 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.

The payment by way of compensation must, however, be reasonable. What is reasonable, may depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case. The quantum of compensation may be determined by taking into account the nature of crime, the justness of claim by the victim and the ability of accused to pay. If there are more than one accused they may be asked to pay in equal terms unless their capacity to pay varies considerably. The payment may also vary depending upon the acts of each accused. Reasonable period for payment of compensation, if necessary by instalments, may also be given. The Court may enforce the order by imposing sentence in default.

Source: Supreme Court cases

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