For wrongly persecuted, compensation is right: Muslim League MP in Rajya Sabha

While raising the issue of legal remedies and compensation for the wrongly prosecuted, Indian Union Muslim League MP PV Abdul Wahab in Rajya Sabha on Thursday urged the Union government to implement the recommendations of 277th Law Commission.

“The recommendation in the report of the Law Commission of India regarding ‘wrongful prosecution (miscarriage of justice) legal remedies’ should be implemented with utmost priority and immediate effect,” Wahab said.

The Law Commission of India in its 277th report, released in 2018, had recommended the prosecution of erring government officers found to have maliciously prosecuted an innocent citizen. It had provided a framework for computing compensation and calculating the monetary value of the loss to a citizen in case of wrongful prosecution.

Wahab in a special mention proposed several suggestions including establishment of express courts for the speedy delivery of justice, making remedies even redeemable by legal heirs and agents of victims, interim compensation of at least Rs.25,000 to Rs. 10,00000 depending on the nature of the case, and summary disposal of complaints and overlooking limitation period if sufficient cause found.

Wahab, a three time Rajya Sabha MP demanded that government must acknowledge the ills of false convictions and redesign the existing system to ensure accountability and provide victims with just compensation.

“Unfortunately, in our country, instances of such misuse of power by police officials, including illegal detention, custodial deaths, brutality, and tortures are fairly routine. However, to date, there is no set of guidelines issued by the government or courts safeguarding the rights of victims including the calculation of the quantum of compensation to be awarded,” he added.

The Kerala MP opined that as the world’s largest democracy, it’s high time that India followed the lead of international standards with regards to delivering justice to the victims of wrongful prosecution.

Article 14 (6) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights makes it mandatory for countries to have a statutory framework for providing compensation and rehabilitation to those who have been wrongfully prosecuted by the State. This provision, adopted by many countries across the world – but not yet by India.

He also urged the Union government to legislate statutory or legal schemes for compensating those who are wrongfully incarcerated.