The Punjab and Haryana high court has asked Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to bring the policies for the relief and rehabilitation of acid-attack victims under the ambit of the state legal services authority (SLSA).
During a hearing, the bench of justice SK Mittal and justice Deepak Sibal observed that if the policies were under his ambit, the claims of the victims might be decided in a fair manner, and if dissatisfied by the district legal services authority verdict, they could challenge it before the SLSA. If still not satisfied, they could challenge the orders by filing a writ petition in the high court, the bench observed.
It cited the example of Haryana, where claims are decided by a district-level committee led by deputy commissioner and which includes a medical officer and two or more criminal law experts. This committee orders ad-hoc compensation and recommends the case to the SLSA without any provision for appeal.
The high court directed Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to consolidate their policies under one document so that the victims had an easy glance at all the provisions. The next hearing of a public-interest petition in this matter is on March 3.
UT to pay interim relief to victim
The division bench also directed the UT administration to pay interim compensation of `2 lakh to acid attack victim Neha of Chandigarh. The payment will be subject to final determination of compensation. In November, the Punjab and Haryana high court had directed Punjab to pay interim compensation to the state's acid attack victims, including Neha, but then it was pointed out that she was a resident of Chandigarh. Earlier, the Punjab government had submitted that all acid attack victims, except Neha, namely Inderjeet Kaur, Amanpreet Kaur, Paramjit Kaur, Rajwant Kaur, and Daljeet Kaur, who were impleaded as petitioners in the public-interest petition, had been given cheques for `2 lakh each based on the high court orders.