Asian Law College (ALC) held its first “NATIONAL SEMINAR” on the theme “A SOCIO LEGAL PERSPECTIVE OF RIGHTS OF VICTIMS IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM” on Saturday, 19th October 2019 at its Noida campus. The inaugural of the seminar witnessed some of the country’s best legal minds like Sh. K. T. S. Tulsi, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), Sr. Advocate, Supreme Court of India; Justice Sh. V. K. Shali, Former Judge, Delhi High Court; Justice Sh. S. N. Kapoor, Former Judge, Delhi High Court; and Justice Smt. Manju Goel, Former Judge, Delhi High Court.
The National Seminar provided an opportunity to all students and intellectuals from all over the country to come together and discuss various measures to be taken to improve the position of Victims in our criminal Justice System. The event kick-started with the lighting of the lamp and welcome address of dignitaries present on and off the dais. Mr. Ashish Bhardwaj, HOD-Asian Law College welcomed the dignitaries with his welcome address and also set the theme of the Seminar with a brief introduction of the topic. This was followed by the inaugural address by Prof (Dr) Saleem Akhtar, Director-Academic Advisory Board, Asian Law College.
In his inaugural address, Prof (Dr) Saleem Akhtar shared the proud fact that this was the first national seminar being conducted at Asian Law College. He then wondered whether the Indian judicial system was on the verge of collapse in the wake of increasing reports of political interference in its functioning and the rise in cases of crimes against the women of the society. According to him, “there was a need to relook on the nation’s various legal enactments on at least four parameters – namely, Access to Justice, Fair Treatment, Compensation, and Protection of Victims.”
Delivering the Director’s address, Dr. Lalitya Vir Srivastava, Director-Asian Education Group at first extended his warm welcome to the distinguished guests sharing the dais and also congratulated the R & D Cell of ALC for “putting together this proud moment of the first national seminar at the college.” Talking about the topic of the seminar, Dr. Srivastava said that “India is in a developing stage and a lot of changes are required in the Indian judicial system too that should match with the global standards. For this to happen, a lot of such seminars are also required to be done at the academic level.” He stressed looking at victims with empathy and sympathy and highlighted that one of the most important roles of a law student is to spread this legal awareness through participating and disseminating the information gathered at such forums.
Shri K.T.S. Tulsi, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), Sr. Advocate, Supreme Court of India delivered the keynote address wherein he spoke about the topic of the seminar being “interesting” and “the critical role of media in highlighting such issues and influencing the public opinion in the society at large.” Shri Tulsi then spoke at length about the matter of “compensation to the victims” and cited the international example of the USA where there was the concept of “Victims Fund” and of the UK where there was the “Injuries Compensation Scheme Act of 1964” that took good care of this issue. He lamented that in India there was no such provision and no such well-defined guidelines for the victim’s proper compensation.
Justice Sh. V. K. Shali, Former Judge, Delhi High Court who spoke next said that “the role of investigating agencies is critical in ensuring a fair trial of the victim’s case.” Talking about the long trial duration, he said that “it was a matter of concern that saps the energies of the victim.” He quoted examples of several cases like ‘Bhagalpur Blinding’s’ case to substantiate his views. On the matter of ‘Compensation’, Justice Sh. V. K. Shali said that “women are the worst sufferers and offenses of the body cannot be fully compensated. In his opinion, “Expeditious disposal of criminal cases against women will act as a deterrent to crimes against women.”
This was followed by the address of Justice Sh. S. N. Kapoor, Former Judge, Delhi High Court. In his address Justice Sh. S. N. Kapoor referred to students as “Teachers…because they ask questions that need to be answered” and said that “students are the hope for the new dawn in the Indian judicial system” and he “had full faith that they will bring-in that new dawn.” He felt that “time is changing and it is changing fast and India should be open to emulate some of the best practices in law in use worldwide.” Here he cited the “Compensation Model” of Denmark as the best example. He, therefore, exhorted students to “Raise their Voice” because he felt, “Unless you raise your voice, nobody is going to listen.”
Justice Smt. Manju Goel, Former Judge, Delhi High Court who spoke next, talked about her role as a “Judicial Educator” whereby “I give you questions; you find your answers.” She asked students to “be open” in their thinking. Referring to the day’s topic as “Victimology”, she said that it basically revolved around the concept of “Relief” to the victims of crime. “Justice”, she said, “meant different things to different people” and advocated for early disposal of such cases since “delay means injustice to the victims.” Justice Smt. Manju Goel also discussed the lacunas of the ‘Juvenile Justice System’ and ‘Disaster Reliefs’ that need to be arrested.
After the keynote addresses by distinguished speakers, as a token of appreciation and gratitude, the guests were felicitated with Mementos by Dr. Lalitya Vir Srivastava, Director-Asian Education Group. The proceedings were followed by a Vote of Thanks by Dr. Priya Sondhi, Associate Dean-Asian Law College (ALC).
The august gathering then dispersed for lunch.
The post-lunch session saw the unfolding of “Parallel Technical Sessions” on the submitted research papers on sub-themes of the Seminar – namely, Prosecution services and protection of vulnerable groups; Overview of legislative and historical development of victimology under Criminal Justice System; Concepts and theory of Victimology; Victim’s compensation scheme; Protection of witnesses; and Abuse of victims within the family.
The Session Chairs of the Seminar was headed by Prof. (Dr.) Syed Mohammad Afzal Qadri, Professor, Former Dean & Head University of Kashmir, Kashmir; Prof. (Dr.) Javaid Talib, Professor, Chairman Dept. of Law, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh; and Dr. Anurag Deep, Associate Professor, Indian Law Institute, New Delhi.
Several commendable Presentations were made at this Seminar, from which, “Best Paper Award” in two categories: Studnet category and Academician Category was announced. The best Student Category award was won by participants from Amity Law School and the best Academician category was grabbed by a PhD scholar of Law from Aligarh Muslim University.
The event concluded with the customary vote of Thanks and with an appeal to spread awareness about the plight of victims so that Victims of crime can find solace in the Justice Delivery System