SC: Nirbhaya Fund only lip service if it remains unused

  • Bhadra Sinha
  • Updated: May 27, 2016 05:57 IST

NEW DELHI: As Rs 2,000 crore Nirbhaya Fund remains unutilised, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre to formulate a national policy for proper rehabilitation of rape survivors, saying the fund amounted to “just a lip service”.

Announced by the UPA government in its 2013 Union Budget, Nirbhaya Fund was started with a corpus of Rs 1,000 crore to support initiatives towards protecting the dignity and ensuring safety of women in India. Since then the fund has become fatter but mostly remained unutilised.

Issuing notices to the Centre, states and union territories, a vacation bench headed by justice PC Pant asked them to spell out within six weeks the steps taken for effective implementation of a provision of the Criminal Procedure Code on victim compensation, other such schemes and the number of women compensated.

“Different states have different schemes. There is no national plan as to how rape victims are to be compensated. Setting up of the Nirbhaya Fund is not enough and it is just paying a lip service. The Union of India must ensure that adequate relief is being provided to the victims of sexual offences,” it said.

The SC was hearing a batch of petitions filed during 2012-13 after the December 16 gangrape in Delhi in 2012 demanding measure for safety and security of women.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising, who was assisting the bench as a friend of the court (amicus curiae), said the implementation of the “Victim Compensation Scheme” was a matter of concern as only 25, out of 29 states, had notified the scheme.

“The states were supposed to set up one-stop crisis centres in each district. As many as 653 such crisis centres were supposed to be in place across the country, but they have not provided information whether they had done so,” Jaising said.

“There is complete lack of uniformity in the said schemes and the States have not yet indicated whether appropriate funds have been allocated in pursuance to the notification of the said schemes, as well as the number of rape victims that have been compensated under the said schemes,” she said. Some states pay ` 10 lakh as compensation while few others pay as less as Rs 50,000 to such survivors, she added.

Pointing out that there were some states which provided compensation to victims of sexual offences just on registration of FIRs, the bench said there has to be some national model on this.

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