Upset with the dismal level of awareness of Haryana Victims’ Compensation Scheme 2013, the Karnal district judiciary has planned to focus on its wide promotion.
Talking to Hindustan Times here on Saturday on the sidelights of the national lok adalat observed on Saturday, the district and sessions judge Manjit Singh said under the welfare plan initiated by the Haryana government this year, no one in Karnal had even applied for compensation in any case, including accident death and sexual assault.
“Police may play a crucial role in spreading awareness among victims, but our observation says that they are not aware of the provisions of compensation. Social organisations should come forward to spread information in this regard,” Singh said.
Admitting that the district administration had hardly worked on spreading awareness, the sessions judge said the Karnal judicial setup would chalk out a comprehensive publicity plan through the regular lok adalats held at various villages and legal awareness camps held at educational institutes.
The scheme and how to go about it
Haryana Victims’ Compensation Scheme was started this year where the compensation is decided by the secretary, District Legal Services Authority (DLSA).
The DLSA secretaries can also entertain application for award of compensation and interim relief to the victims on the recommendations of the courts.
To claim compensation, the victim has to report the crime to a police station in-charge, any senior officer, executive magistrate or judicial magistrate of the area within 48 hours of the crime.
The family income of the victim should not exceed Rs 4.5 lakh per annum and the victim should not be an income tax payee.
Under the provision, the compensation amount is paid by the government initially, but it will be recovered from the accused, if he or she gets convicted. However, in the case of acquittal, the victim will not be asked to refund the relief to the government.
Karnal short of judges
The session judge told HT that Karnal needed at least five judicial officers. Currently, the strength of judges in Karnal is 22.
“The district courts have a pendency of 38,000 cases, whereas at the sessions level 65,000 cases are in the pendency. Though we urgently need more judges, there is no space to accommodate more than one new judge. We have already informed the Punjab and Haryana high court about these issues and hope that one more floor would be added at the judicial complex,” the sessions judge said.
Relevance of lok adalats
Owing to heavy pendency of cases and gradual increase in fresh litigations at the lower judiciary, lok adalats have become more relevant.
Cases under various categories are settled with a dialogue between the two parties and once settled at lok adalats, the cases cease any right to appeal in higher judiciary.
“It is very important to spread a message that no one is termed a looser in the cases settled at lok adalats. All issues are solved amicably and it saves money and time of the litigants and the judicial system,” he added.