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State must pay compensation to rape and acid attack victims: Bombay HC

  • A division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Shalini Phansalkar Joshi of Bombay High Court while hearing a PIL filed by the father of a rape victim, pulled up the Maharashtra government for delaying the decision regarding grant of compensation to rape, acid attack and child abuse victims under the Manodhairya Scheme retrospectively.

    Under the Manodhairya scheme, the state government had decided to pay compensation of maximum Rs. 3 Lacs to rape victims and other women who are victims of violence. This scheme was launched on October 2nd, 2013 and included compensation as well as rehabilitation to rape survivors and acid attack victims. Besides the scheme, the Maharashtra government had framed the Victim Compensation Scheme under Section 357 A of the Code of Criminal Procedure which came into force in April 2014.

    Recently in the case of Laxmi v. Union of India, the apex court held that state must ensure free treatment to victims of acid attack who get a certificate issued by the concerned hospital. “This certificate may be utilized by the victim for treatment and reconstructive surgeries or any other scheme that the victim may be entitled to with the State Government or the Union Territory, as the case may be”, SC’s order further said.

    On the basis of the above judgment, another bench of the Bombay High Court directed the state to grant compensation to the victim retrospectively in the case of Arti Thakur v. State of Maharashtra.

    Assistant public prosecutor, Mankhuwar Deshmukh, appearing on behalf of the state informed the bench that the expectations had raised in the Aarti Thakur case and the compensation was provided under the Victim Compensation Scheme as funds under the scheme are provided by the centre, however the state government has to provide funds under the Manodhairya scheme, hence due to lack of sufficient funds, the state would be unable to extend the provisions of Manodhairya scheme with retrospective effect in the present case.

    The court expressed its disappointment in the matter and insisted the state government to compensate the victims as it was its obligation.

    The Court said, “You are obligated to help these victims. It is your duty to ensure that they get proper counseling soon after the FIR is lodged and financial help is extended to them. You are not doing charity or doing them any favor by helping them”. The case was further scheduled to be heard next week.


    OUR TAKE

    The survivors of the rape and acid attacks usually lose their self confidence and hence one way in which the government may boost their morale is by providing them with reasonable compensation and rehabilitation, so that they can receive appropriate treatment and can eventually get back to their normal life.


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