The Bombay high court (HC) on Wednesday asked the state if all medical expenses of acid attack victims can be covered under a government compensation scheme.
A division bench of justice VM Kanade and justice AR Joshi was hearing a petition filed by a 24-year-old woman, whose landlady’s son threw acid on her in 2012 because she refused to marry him.
Advocate Debapriya Mukherjee, representing the petitioner, mentioned a Supreme Court judgement, which says state governments should make provisions for the treatment of acid attack victims, and the minimum compensation should be Rs3 lakh.
Under the Maharashtra government’s scheme to provide relief to survivors of sexual assault and acid attacks – Manodhairya Yojana –the aid mount ranges from Rs 50,000 to a maximum of Rs 3 lakh.
The petitioner suffered 15% burns in the attack, and even after multiple surgeries, still bears scars. She has not received financial help from the government yet, her petition says. A doctor from a private hospital is willing to operate on her next week and the procedure is likely to cost Rs 3 lakh, Mukherjee said.
The petition prays the cost for her surgery be covered the Manodhairya Yojana.
The court noted the woman has been paying for her expensive treatment for a very long time. It asked the petition to be amended and her doctor to be made a party to it, so he can verify the cost of the treatment.
It also asked the secretary of the health department to file a reply on whether hospitals are allotting 10% of their expenditure for treating acid attack victims.
The state was directed to file its reply in one week on whether all of the woman’s medical expenses can be covered under the Manodhairya Yojana. The matter is scheduled for hearing on March 16.