SC notice to Centre on pleas seeking guidelines for compensation to victims of wrongful prosecution

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New Delhi, Mar 23 (PTI) The Supreme Court Tuesday sought the Centre's reply on two separate pleas seeking directions to the government to frame guidelines for compensation to victims of “wrongful prosecution” and to ensure strict action against fake complainants in criminal cases.

A bench headed by Justice U U Lalit issued notices to the Centre on the pleas filed by BJP leaders Ashwini Upadhyay and Kapil Mishra.

Upadhyay, also an advocate, has sought directions to the Centre, all states and Union Territories to frame and implement guidelines to compensate victims of 'wrongful prosecution' through government machineries.

Mishra, in his plea, has sought directions to the Centre for framing guidelines to ensure strict action against fake complainants in criminal cases and for compensating victims of such wrongful prosecutions.

The bench, while issuing notice to the Centre on one of the prayers in the petition filed by Upadhyay, refused to issue notices to the states and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

The top court has posted these matters for further hearing in April 26.

The petitions were filed in the apex court in the backdrop of a case in which the Allahabad High Court had in January declared a man, earlier convicted in a rape case and jailed for around 20 years, innocent observing that the motive behind the FIR was related to a land dispute.

In his plea, Upadhyay has alternatively urged the top court to 'use its plenary constitutional power to frame the guidelines for compensation to victims of wrongful prosecutions and direct the Centre and states to implement them till the recommendations of the Law Commission on miscarriage of justice are implemented religiously'.

The plea has made the Union ministries of Home Affairs, Law and Justice and the Law Commission as parties, besides all the states and Union Territories.

'Direct the Centre to frame guidelines for compensation to victims of wrongful prosecution and implement the recommendations of Law Commission Report No-277 on miscarriage of justice,' Upadhyay has said in his plea.

It has said that due to cases of malicious prosecution, the injury caused to the citizens is extremely large and 'because of the Centre's inaction, citizens' right to life, liberty and dignity, guaranteed under Article 21, is being brazenly offended'.

'There are many startling cases which show the gross abuse of power and authority by the State and vexatious complainant, which caused absolute 'miscarriage of justice' by irreparable damage to right to life, liberty and dignity of innocent citizens in the justice dispensation with no relief given by the courts,' it said. PTI MNL ABA SA