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Restorative justice under the criminal justice system in India: With special reference to plea bargaining and compounding measures.

Khan, Sarfaraz Ahmed
June 4, 2015

Source: (2011) M.PHIL. DISSERTATION, WBNUJS. Available at SSRN: or

In India, study has found that dispute resolution outside the formal court system was effective since time immemorial in some form or other. The present system of court annexed settlement as well as outside court settlement provides a golden opportunity to the disputant to resolve their dispute through the mechanism best suited to them. Such plenty of mechanism which have the components of restorative justice help a large number of parties to settle their disputes outside court. Restorative justice provides a large number of advantages in comparison to the adjudicatory processes, such as speedy disposal, cost effectiveness, maintenance of good relationship and chances of continuity of relationship, less formality, more compliance etc. In different parts of the world, people started using restorative justice system within criminal Justice System in different ways, such as plea bargaining, Victim-Offender Mediation, out of court settlement etc. Benefits obtained by such processes in other jurisdictions have compelled our legislature to use it within the Indian Criminal Justice System. The result of such incorporation of different processes within criminal justice is emergence of ‘Plea Bargaining’ within criminal procedure. Moreover, since the beginning of the criminal procedure in India there were provisions which could have been instrumental for using restorative justice within CJS such as compounding of offence, withdrawing from prosecution etc. Thus the study shows that out of court settlement within criminal justice system was not alien in India.In sui generis Plea Bargaining process victims get rights to decide about the case, participate in the process along with other stake holders and if their aspirations are fulfilled settled the case by virtue of ‘mutually satisfactory disposition’. This process is nothing but fulfillment of the restorative justice system. Similarly other processes followed in India such as Lok-Adalat, compounding of offences etc. give enormous rights to the victims to decide about their own case which makes the process a restorative justice process. Moreover, the process like Victim-Offender Mediation which is not prevalent in India may be practiced and the outcome can be recognized through court by compounding of offences. Thus the use of all such processes within criminal justice system is in reality a potent tool to provide restorative justice in India. (author’s abstract)


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