A rape victim will be entitled to a compensation of Rs 200,000, provided she testifies in a court of law against the accused.
Seventeen years after the Supreme Court directed the government to provide aid to rape victims, the Women and Child Development ministry has finalised a draft scheme under which a victim will get Rs 20,000 within a fortnight of lodging a rape complaint as interim relief. Another Rs 50,000 will be provided for immediate rehabilitation and medical expenses.
The ministry — which will circulate a note for cabinet consideration next week — expects to notify the scheme before March 31, the end of this fiscal.
For interim compensation, registering case will not be mandatory. The National Commission for Women had argued that in some places cases are not registered, if the accused is an influential person.
“Our aim is not to get cases registered but to provide help,” a senior ministry official said, after the scheme was finalised on Wednesday.
“There is no need to specifically ask for a copy of FIR,” said the officer, who refused to be identified as the plan is yet to get the cabinet’s nod.
A Criminal Injuries Relief and Rehabilitation Board with a legal expert and a doctor as members has been proposed in every district. It will provide interim relief based on documents given by the victim, irrespective of the police action on the complaint.
The scheme, however, doesn’t have any provision of recovering compensation, in case the complaint is false, a provision sought by police bodies.
“Our aim is to provide financial succour…,” Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath said. She said there were sufficient safeguards to prevent misuse.
No compensation will be given to a woman who had previously lodged a rape complaint or where the delay in reporting results in the end of evidence.
Around 18,000 rape cases are registered in India every year, says the National Crime Records Bureau. The conviction rate is below 20 per cent, among the lowest in the world.
The scheme, the ministry believes, will narrow the gap, as major part of the compensation, Rs 1.30 lakh, will be paid at the end of trial.