Victim Compensation

From Justice Definitions Project

Victim Compensation means payments that are made by the government to the victims of crime. The concept of victim compensation differs from restitution, which deals with the offender making payments either by way of money or service to the victim of crime.Victim Compensation calls for action by the victim in the form of an application, and payment by society; restitution calls for a decision by a criminal court and payment by the offender.

Official Definitions of Victim Compensation

Victim Compensation as defined in Legislations

Victim Compensation Under Criminal Laws

The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

Section 357A CrPC provides for a 'Victim Compensation Scheme,' in which "Every State Government in coordination with the Central Government shall prepare a scheme for providing funds for the purpose of compensation to the victim or his dependents who have suffered loss or injury as a result of the crime and who require rehabilitation." The quantum of compensation is to be decided by the District/State Legal Service Authority, subject to recommendations from the trial court. Moreover, the state/district Legal Services Authority, "to alleviate the suffering of the victim, may order for an immediate first-aid facility or medical benefits to be made available free of cost."

This section recognizes that temporary payment can be provided while proceedings are ongoing and before a final conclusion is reached. The Supreme Court has often upheld interim compensation awarded by High Courts in rape cases, recognizing its significance.[1]

According to Section 357B, such compensation is to be in addition to a fine under section 326A or section 376D of the Indian Penal Code.

Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023

Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 which is set to replace the CrPC provides for compensation under sections 395 and 396.[2]

Section 395 provides for the order to pay compensation and the section remains the same as CrPC section 357. Moreover, section 396 of BNSS replaces section 357A of CrPC. While the former largely retains the latter, proviso 7 undergoes the following change:

Section 396(7): The compensation payable by the State Government under this section shall be in addition to the payment of fine to the victim under section 67(4), section 68, section 70(1) and section 70(2) of Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023.

Victim Compensation Under The Protection of Children From Sexual Offences Act, 2012

1. Section 33(8): In appropriate cases, the Special Court may, in addition to the punishment, direct payment of such compensation as may be prescribed to the child for any physical or mental trauma caused to him or for immediate rehabilitation of such child.

2. Rule 9(1) of the 2020 POCSO Rules empowers a court to award interim compensation in appropriate cases, on its own or an application filed by a victim, to meet the immediate needs or for relief or rehabilitation, at any stage after registration of the FIR; which interim compensation is to be adjusted against the final compensation awarded;

3. Under Rule 9(2), the court, on its own or an application filed by the victim, is also empowered to recommend the award of compensation, whether the accused is convicted or even acquitted or discharged or remains untraced or unidentified, if in the opinion of the court, the victim has suffered loss or injury as a result of the offence;

4. Rule 9(3) of the 2020 Rules authorises the Special Court to make a direction for the award of compensation to the victims.

Victim Compensation under SC ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989[3]

The Schedule of this Act provides a list of offences and the victims of these offences have the right to be compensated as per IPC, 1860.

Victim Compensation as Defined in Official Government Reports

  1. 154th Law Commission Report, 1996[4]: Compensation was proposed as a recognized method of protection that offered immediate support to the victim. The report stated that compensation could also be extended to the family of the victim in certain instances.
  2. Malimath Committee Recommendations 2003[5]: Defined victim compensation as a State obligation, whether the offender is apprehended or not, convicted or acquitted. Suggested organizing it in a separate legislation and creating a Victim Compensation Fund under the victim compensation law.

Victim Compensation as Defined in Case Laws

In Suresh v. State of Haryana,[6] the Supreme Court asserted “it is the duty of the courts, on taking cognizance of a criminal offence, to ascertain whether there is tangible material to show the commission of a crime, whether the victim is identifiable and whether the victim of crime needs immediate financial… relief. On being satisfied with an application or on its motion, the court ought to directly grant some interim compensation, subject to final compensation being determined later. The gravity of the offence and need of victim are some of the guiding factors to be kept in mind, apart from such other factors as may be found relevant in the facts and circumstances of an individual case."

Victim compensation as defined in Official Documents

NALSA’s Compensation Scheme for Women Victims/Survivors of Sexual Assault/other Crimes 2018[7]

The Supreme Court in Nipun Saxena Vs. Union of India[8] opined that “it would be appropriate if NALSA sets up a Committee of about 4 or 5 persons who can prepare Model Rules for Victim Compensation for sexual offences and acid attacks taking into account the submissions made by the learned Amicus.”

In view of the above, NALSA set up a committee that took into consideration the suggestions/comments, the Committee finalized the Compensation Scheme for women Victims/Survivors of Sexual Assault/other Crimes.

Nirbhaya Fund[9]

Following the tragedy of December 2012, the Government has set up a dedicated fund – Nirbhaya Fund – which can be utilized for projects specifically designed to improve the safety and security of women. It is a non-lapsable corpus fund, being administered by the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance

Legal provisions relating to Vitim Compensation

Central Victim Compensation Scheme

The Government has set up the Central Victim Compensation Fund (CVCF) with a one-time grant of INR 200 Crores, to support and supplement the existing Victim Compensation Schemes notified by States/UT Administrations, in order to provide financial support to victims of various crimes like sexual offences including rape, acid attacks, crime against children etc. Women victims of cross-border suffering permanent or partial disability or death will also be compensated under the Central Victim Compensation Fund Scheme.

Amounts of compensation

This scheme prescribes the following amounts of compensation[10]:

SI. No. Description of Injures / loss Minimum Amount of Compensation
1 Acid attack Rs. 3 lakhs
2 Rape Rs. 3 lakhs
3 Physical abuse of minor Rs. 2 laths
4 Rehabilitation of victim of Human Trafficking Rs. 1 lakh
5 Sexual assault(Excluding rape) Rs. 50,000/-
6 Permanent Disability(80% or more) Rs. 2 lakhs
7 Death Rs. 2 lakhs
8 Partial Disability (40% to 80%) Rs. 1 lakh
9 Burns affecting greater than 25% of the body (excluding Acid Attack cases) Rs. 2 lakhs
10 Loss of fertility Rs. 50,000/-
11 Loss of foetus Rs. 1.5 laths
12 Women victims of cross border firing:

(a) Death or Permanent Disability (80% or more)

(b) Partial Disability

Rs. 2 laths

Rs. 1 lakh

Procedure for Claiming Compensation

  1. A Court order must be passed directing the authorities to grant compensation.
  2. Victims/Dependents may make an application before the District/State  Legal Service Authority. The application must be submitted along with a copy of the First Information Report (FIR), medical report, death certificate, if available, copy of judgment/ recommendation of court if the trial is over, to the State or District Legal Services Authority.
  3. District/State  Legal Service Authority then decides the quantum of compensation to be given to a victim of crime.
  4. Method of disbursement of compensation: The amount of compensation so awarded shall be disbursed by the respective Legal Service Authority by depositing the same in a Nationalized Bank in the joint or single name of the victim/dependent(s). Out of the amount so deposited, 75% (seventy-five percent) of the same shall be put in a fixed deposit for a minimum period of three years. The remaining 25% (twenty-five percent) shall be available for utilization and initial expenses by the victim/dependent(s), as the case may be. In the case of a minor, 80% of the amount of compensation so awarded, shall be deposited in the fixed deposit account and shall be drawn only on attainment of the age of majority, but not before three years of the deposit.

Regional Variations Relating to Victim Compensation Schemes

Generally, victim compensation schemes of states prescribe various amounts for following categories: Loss of life, rape, acid attack, simple loss or injury, Loss or injury due to severe mental agony to women and child victims in cases like Human Trafficking, Kidnapping and Molestation etc., grievous hurt, and disfigurement caused due to burning.

The amount of compensation within the same category varies state wise. Foe example, for loss of life, states such as Gujarat, Karnataka, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana provide the highest compensation, i.e., Rs 5-10 lacs. Per contra, a few states such as Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, and Goa provide the lowest amount as compared to other states for loss of life, which falls somewhere between Rs. 25,000/- to Rs. 3,00,000/-.

One commonality across all the states is that Acid attack victims and rape victims are the two categories which provide for the highest amount of compensation to the victims. The states also generally assess the loss of life by bifurcating it into two categories – loss of an earning member and loss of a non-earning member. Naturally, it follows that the compensation for loss of an earning member is greater than that of a non-earning member. Moreover, even acid attacks are distributed in burn percentage categories. While prescribing the amounts, the victim compensation schemes also greatly emphasize on the type of disability – whether permanent or partial.

Some states such as Kerala and Haryana also lay down that if the victim is less than 14 years of age, the compensation shall be increased by 50% over the amount specified in the compensation scheme.

Almost all states prescribe a standard 180-day time period (extendable on an application for condonation to DLSA) of limitation for applying 357A (4) of CrPC. The period for filing an appeal to SLSA against the order of DLSA is 90 days (extendable on an application for condonation to SLSA)

Official Database

National Legal Services Authority (NALSA)

The NALSA website publishes a comprehensive statistical report on Applications received by state legal service authorities under section 357-A CrPC. This includes data relating to amount of compensation and pendency status of the application so received. This was further updated for the period of April 2023 to December 2023. The regularly updated reports are available here.


State Legal Services Authority

The Delhi State Legal Services Authority publishes offence-wise data under which the compensation amount is disbursed. The reports for the particular states are available on their respective legal state legal services authority website. For Example, the Madhya Pradesh data is available here, last updated for April 2022 to March 2023.

Delhi State Legal Service Authority - Category-wise (Major Categories) Data of Compensation Disbursed under DVCS. Retrieved from -

India Justice Report

The India Justice report has analysed data relating to the number of cases received by the courts and directly by the legal services authority and highlights the lack of awareness surrounding compensation as a mode of restitution.

Graphical representation of Application received, Application denied, and Amount of Compensation awarded between 2016-17 to 2021-22. Retrieved from

International Experience

Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law[11] provides the international perspective on victim compensation:

Clauses under Article 9 Reparation for harm suffered:

15.  Adequate, effective and prompt reparation is intended to promote justice by redressing gross violations of international human rights law or serious violations of international humanitarian law. Reparation should be proportional to the gravity of the violations and the harm suffered. In accordance with its domestic laws and international legal obligations, a State shall provide reparation to victims for acts or omissions which can be attributed to the State and constitute gross violations of international human rights law or serious violations of international humanitarian law. In cases where a person, a legal person, or other entity is found liable for reparation to a victim, such party should provide reparation to the victim or compensate the State if the State has already provided reparation to the victim.

18. In accordance with domestic law and international law, and taking account of individual circumstances, victims of gross violations of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law should, as appropriate and proportional to the gravity of the violation and the circumstances of each case, be provided with full and effective reparation, as laid out in principles 19 to 23, which include the following forms: restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition.

20. Compensation should be provided for any economically assessable damage, as appropriate and proportional to the gravity of the violation and the circumstances of each case, resulting from gross violations of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law, such as:

(a) Physical or mental harm;

(b) Lost opportunities, including employment, education and social benefits;

(c) Material damages and loss of earnings, including loss of earning potential;

(d) Moral damage;

(e) Costs required for legal or expert assistance, medicine and medical services, and psychological and social services.

International Variations

United Kingdom[12]

Criminal injury compensation was introduced in 1964 as an experiment on a non-statutory basis to provide ex gratia compensation to the victims of crimes of violence and to those hurt in their attempts to arrest the offenders and to prevent crimes. If you've been injured by a violent crime, you can apply for compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). You will be eligible if the crime has been committed in the past two years, and if it was reported to the police as soon as possible.


Germany has a crime victim compensation program to provide financial compensation for victims of violent or personal crime which came into force in the year 1976. Germany has a crime victim compensation program to provide financial compensation for victims of violent or personal crime.


The idea of establishing a compensation fund whereby compensation would be paid from government funds to victims of serious crimes of violence came up in the Netherlands around the year 1970.The Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund is an independent body of the central government. It makes single payments to victims of intentional crimes of violence who, as a consequence, suffered a serious physical or psychological injury. Surviving relatives of victims who are either dead because of a violent crime or pass away because of a culpable offence may also be eligible for compensation from the Compensation Fund. This also applies to the families of victims who suffered a serious and permanent injury because of the violent crime.


In March 1977, Act. No. 77.5 of 3 January 1977 came into force throughout the Republic of France guaranteeing state compensation for certain categories of physical injury resulting from crime.

Research That Engages with the Term

Sangeet Saroha, Victim’s Compensation: Issues and Challenges[15]

The author deals with victim compensation as a right to seek redress for the harm from the crime suffered by them. She distinguishes it from other principles of criminal law, such as retribution as a goal of punishment. She argues that needs of the victim are prioritized as a response to crime.

Vibha Mohan, Revisiting Victim Compensation in India[16]

The article deals with the history, development of the legal framework on victim compensation through developments in criminal remedy, recommendations of the Law Commission, and changes in the Code of Criminal Procedure. It also goes into the 'interplay' of victim compensation with fundamental rights. It further deals with the issues on implementing legislative provisions and the role of the government in the same. Thereafter the same is analysed in international context, including practices in other jurisdictions. The author notes the nascent nature of victim compensation in India and provides recommendations based on the analysis.

Justice G.N. Sabhahit Memorial Lecture, Victim Compensation In Criminal Justice System, by Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar[17]

The memorial lecture goes into the emerging discussions on victimology, which deal with justice that is due to the victims of a crime where the foremost consideration is given to the punishment meted out to the criminal and damage to the victim is secondary. But judges have considered it to necessary to compensate victim to do complete justice. It goes holistically into the concept of victim, i.e. considering the impact on just the individuals but their dependents and the society. In light of this, the lecture goes into the remedies.


Some procedural challenges to victim compensation in India could be listed as below:

  1. Under utilisation
  2. Delay in implementation
  3. Procedural impediments
  4. Lack of timeliness


  6. (2015) 2 SCC 227
  8. W.P. (C) No. 565/2012
  15. Sangeet Saroha, "Victim's compensation issues and challenges" International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, 4(4) 2021, p. 3034-3031
  16. Vibha Mohan, "Revisiting Victim Compensation in India" Indian Journal of Law & Public Policy, 4(2) 2018, p 88-109. available at:
  17. Justice G.N. Sabhahit Memorial Lecture Delivered By Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar, delivered on 29.1.2016, at Channabasappa Hall, Karnataka Government Secretariat Club, Cubbon Park, Bangalore, Karnataka. available at:
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