A law to give victims of crime a voice and the power to file appeals came into force on Friday but the government will need more time to give effect to provisions requiring victims to be compensated.
“This is the first time that an Indian law recognises that a victim has a role to play…,” a senior home ministry official said.
Besides giving victims the right to hire lawyers and file appeals, the law also requires state governments to draw up a scheme to fund compensation to victims or their dependents.
The state or district-level legal service authority will decide the quantum of compensation once the trial court recommends cases where victim needs to be paid.
The law, however, gives the court powers at the conclusion of a trial for enhancement of compensation.
Victims will also have the right to directly approach the authority if the offender can’t be traced or identified.
The law also makes it mandatory for high courts to commute death sentences of women who are pregnant.
The amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure passed by Parliament were held up due to two controversial provisions.
One restricts the powers of police to arrest offenders accused in offences punishable with less than seven years’ imprisonment. The second provision that relates to the power of courts to refuse or grant adjournments has also been put on hold.