New Delhi, Jul 8: Dependents of murder victims are entitled to monetary compensation from the accused to compensate for the bereavement, the Supreme Court has ruled.
A bench of justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha asked the Centre to formulate a fresh legislation or drastically amend the “The Fatal Accidents Act-1885 “to provide financial compensation for family members of victims of murder, which would be independent from the criminal prosecution of the accused.
The apex court said simultaneous criminal proceedings and civil suit claim against the murder accused would not amount to double jeopardy. Under the doctrine of double jeopardy, a person cannot be tried twice for the same offence.
“It is a matter of grave concern that such sensitive matters like payment of compensation and damages for death resulting from a wrongful or negligent act are governed by a law which is more than one and half centuries old.
“The Fatal Accidents Act, on account of its limited and restrictive application, is hardly suited to meet such a challenge. We are,therefore, of the opinion that the old antiquated Act should be drastically amended or fresh legislation should be enacted which should, inter alia, contain appropriate provisions,” Justice Alam writing the judgement said.
The apex court passed the ruling while dismissing an appeal of convict Suba Singh challenging a direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court which asked him to pay a compensation of Rs 2.32 lakh to Davinder Kaur, a widow of Surinder Singh who was shot dead by the former over a property row on July 1, 1991. PTI