The Bombay high court said on Friday that the Rs3 lakh cap on compensation for rape survivors was “unreasonably low”. The court was hearing a petition filed by a 14-year-old rape survivor from Borivli, which states that though she was entitled to financial assistance, medical aid and counselling under the state’s Manodharya scheme, she had received no help.
“At Rs3 lakh, the maximum amount payable as compensation to rape survivors is unreasonably low,” said the division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Girish Kulkarni.
The judges were also irked to note that after the court took note of the girl’s plight, the district criminal injuries relief and rehabilitation board sanctioned her just Rs2 lakh in compensation at a meeting on December 27, 2016.
What angered the judges was the fact that the board did not give any reason for granting her less than the maximum sum payable under the scheme. “A 14-year-old girl has been sexually assaulted and there are absolutely no reasons as to why the board has sanctioned a meagre sum of Rs2 lakh only,” said the bench.
It then directed assistant government pleader Rebecca Gonsalves to explain the reason why just Rs2 lakh was sanctioned. “We want a better explanation from the board as to why Rs2 lakh was sanctioned even though the survivor is a minor,” the court said.
According to her petition, the 14-year-old was kidnapped by a man and taken to his brother’s house on May 2016, where she was sexually assaulted. On the basis of a complaint lodged by her mother, the Borivli police on May 5, 2016 booked the suspect for kidnapping and raping a minor under the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
Her petition stated that under the government’s Manodharya scheme, she was entitled to 50% of the compensation on registration of the first information report and the rest on the filing of the charge sheet. Though the police filed a charge sheet last July, she had not received any compensation despite appealing to the police. Not only did she not receive any money, no medical aid or counselling was provided to her, the petition stated. The hearing will continue in two weeks.