Pravin Khandpasole

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2014


This profile was prepared when Pravin Khandpasole was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2014.
The New Idea
Pravin Khandpasole is creating a field that recognizes victims of homicide attacks and their families as key stakeholders and makes them part of a justice system that is not only retributive, but also restorative. In its current state, the criminal justice system focuses on punishing the criminal. There it fails often, but it fails completely to respond to the needs of the victims and their families, leaving them to a life of trauma and poverty. Despite having rehabilitation rights and being covered under the law, these victims and their families have been invisible within the justice delivery system, even though it depends upon hem to activate it by filing charges.

To empower the victims and their families, Pravin engages various stakeholders in the system to create the political will and social acceptance of the rarely invoked Victim’s Compensation Act. He works with the police, judiciary, village-based governance structures, government schools and youth volunteers to ensure that victims and their family are accorded rights under the law: economic compensation, emotional support, access to livelihood opportunities and re-integration into society irrespective of caste, class or gender. By uncovering the gaps that prevent this Act from being executed at the district, state and national level, Pravin is creating a new structural blueprint to improve justice-delivery mechanisms for these victims. This structure enables new roles for institutional stakeholders like the police and medical fraternity, and rather than creating parallel systems of redressal, Pravin is layering these existing “leverage points” with both knowledge and capacities to implement the law. For instance, Pravin has stationed “Victim Help Desks” outside police stations to both act as a point of reference for victims who seek rehabilitation, and also sensitize the officers towards their dire socio-economic condition. In this manner, he has built a support network across various levels of law-enforcement agencies, and through a collaborative approach, is helping them re-define their roles within the justice system to become an ally for the poor and vulnerable.Through this collaborative approach, Pravin has constructed a new model of the implementation of the Act at a national level, across all states. Beginning with the state of Maharashtra, this multi-dimensional model is creating incentives for other bodies (eg: CSOs) who work in this space to use the law as a tool for tackling the apathy in the legal system. Additionally, by engaging new graduates in criminal justice system, be they students or young police recruits through fellowships and training programmes, he is creating a space for new professionals in the field. Through coalitions and joint efforts with these institutions, Pravin is laying a solid foundation for the field by directing essential funding, resources and expertise to address victim’s rights and rehabilitation.

In Pravin’s holistic, long-term vision for his work, the empowerment of these victims and their families does not stop at rehabilitation. By identifying them as equal stakeholders, Pravin is changing the dynamic of the justice-system by placing victims at the crux of a restorative model of justice. By improving the focus on a victim’s identity and on their right to redressal, Pravin is sensitizing these communities towards the suffering and disempowerment that results from violence, thus preventing further conflict.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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