Report No. 152
3.27. Section 357: Compensation.-
Section 357 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 empowers the criminal court to award compensation to victims of an offence when the court passes a judgment. The order may be passed not only when the court imposes a sentence of fine,-but also when it does not impose fine. The compensation can be ordered in favour of the person who has suffered loss or injury caused by the offence.
In that part of the section which applies where fine is imposed, it is specifically stated that the loss or injury must be such that in a civil suit compensation would be recoverable. Where fine is not imposed, this requirement is not expressly stated. But the word "injury" itself suggests that it must be actionable harm. (See section 2(h) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1972 read with section 43, Indian Penal Code). In short, section 357 of the Code empowers the criminal court to function also as a civil court, within the limits laid down in the section.