The Judiciary has rethought the rights of victims in the latest judgment passed on October 13th, 2018, when the Supreme Court in the case of Malikarjuna Kodagali v. State of Karnataka & Ors., Criminal Appeal Nos. 1281-82 of 2018, while considering the question about whether the ‘victim’ must apply for leave to appeal against the order of acquittal, passed an order in the negative.
The Appellant Kodagali as a victim of an attack had lodged a complaint with the police and necessary proceedings were conducted before the District and Sessions Judge, Bagalkot against the accused persons under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The Judge acquitted the accused.
Kodagali preferred an appeal in the High Court under the Proviso to Section 372 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC) which was dismissed as not maintainable as the Proviso came into the statute book with effect from December 31, 2009, but the incident had occurred well before that date. Kodagali approached the High Court again under Section 378(4) of CrPC which was again dismissed on the ground that the appeal was not filed in a case instituted upon a complaint before a Magistrate.
The Supreme Court allowed the appeal and held that “The word ‘complaint’ has been defined in Section 2(d) of the Cr.P.C. and refers to any allegation made orally or in writing to a Magistrate. This has nothing to do with the lodging or the registration of an FIR, and therefore, it is not at all necessary to consider the effect of a victim being the complainant as far as the proviso to Section 372 of the Cr.P.C. is concerned.”
- With the passing of the order, the victims can now directly appeal to High Court under Section 372 of CrPC without applying for special leave to appeal against the order of acquittal which now gives enough time to the victim to think over further actions.
- In passing this order, the Judge relied on Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in the 96th Plenary Session for the law to be more victim-centric.