Compensation given to sexual assault, acid attack victims is insulting, says HC
Mumbai: The compensation given to the victims of sexual assault and acid attack is insulting and shameful, observed the Bombay High Court on Wednesday. The court said at least from Wednesday, which is International Women’s Day, the Maharashtra government must do something constructive for the victims.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice G.S. Kulkarni was hearing the plea of a 14-year-old girl, which was filed through her mother. The minor was raped in 2015 and awarded a compensation of ₹2 lakh under the Manodhariya scheme. They moved court seeking enhancement in the compensation amount.
Advocate Dnyanada Mahajan, appearing for the petitioner, informed the court that while the State offers ₹3 lakh as compensation, Goa offers ₹10 lakh. She said the parents of the girl are poor. The court asked the State to look into revising the amount to ₹10 lakh.
The court said there is no application of mind in deciding the scheme. The amount is insulting and inhuman and comes across to be a mere formality. The court asked whether ₹2 lakh given to a victim — that too in a city like Bombay — is enough. The court went on to say the child will not even get proper education; the amount is shameful and needs to be re-looked.
In the previous hearing, the court had said Manodhairya means self-confidence and the government should be boosting the victims’ confidence; instead it is doing the opposite. The Bench had directed the Mumbai Suburban Collector to be present in court with details of the Manodhairya scheme that gives compensation to rape and acid attack victims.
In Maharashtra, the scheme was launched on October 2, 2013, which envisages not only compensation but also rehabilitation of rape survivors and acid attack victims. In an affidavit submitted at the HC, the State has said till February 2015, there have been eight cases of acid attack, and the scheme has provided legal assistance and ₹3 lakh to the victims, apart from free consultations with government-appointed psychiatrists
Apart from the monetary compensation, the government also provides counselling to the victim and vocational or educational training if required.
During the hearing, the bench was informed by the state government that the scheme has two categories — the first for rape and sexual assault victims and the second for acid attack victims. Rs two lakh is given to victims of the first category and Rs three lakh for the second category.
The court said the clauses have been framed with no application of mind and these lack empathy towards the victims.
“What about child victims? Is Rs two lakh enough for them? In a place like Bombay what will a child do with Rs two lakh. They will not even get proper education,” it said.