Two years ago, 13-year old Amaan (name changed) was sexually assaulted by three seniors behind his school. The three boys were later convicted of unnatural sexual offenses.
But since the Delhi Victim Compensation Scheme classified the crime merely as “child abuse” and not rape, the boy was provided with just Rs. 50,000 as compensation.
Now, a petition seeking enhancement of the compensation provided to Amaan has been filed at the Delhi High Court, which could change the way in which sexual assaults against men and young boys are viewed by legal authorities.
The matter will come up for hearing before a bench headed by Sanjiv Khanna on Thursday.
The petition, filed by the boy’s family through NGO iProBono, says Amaan’s case is one among thousands in which the Delhi Victim Compensation Scheme had “effectively discriminated” against male-child victims of sexual assault by not recognizing penetrative assault on them as “rape” and clubbing it as merely “child abuse”.
This “vague and arbitrary and irrational” classification, it says, “discriminates between male victims and female victims as females are entitled to a compensation of Rs. 3 lakhs under the head of rape whereas a male victims will only be entitled to Rs. 50,000 under the head of child abuse.”
The petition further goes on to plead that the high court declares the provisions of the Delhi Victims Compensation Scheme, 2011 as unconstitutional in its application to child victims of sexual assault.
It seeks directions to the state government to “reformulate” the provision of the scheme dealing with compensation. In a survey on child sexual abuses in 2007, the Indian government had found that around 57.3% of the victims were boys.
Recently, Delhi-based Centre for Civil Society had found that of the 18% of adult men who claim to have been forced into sex, 16% claimed that the perpetrators were female.
However, the Indian law does not recognise rape of a man, for which the much-debated provision of unnatural sex of Section 377 IPC is the only legal recourse for those penetrated in a penile manner.
For those who are assaulted in a non-penile manner, no recourse exists.
“As far as boys are concerned, we are really not looking at the trauma they face at the hand of assaulters. It is high time we did,” HAQ’s co-director and founder Bharti Ali said.