Hike compensation for rape, acid attack survivors to Rs10 lakh, says Bombay high court panel
A committee appointed by the Bombay high court on Wednesday submitted a draft of the revised Manodhairya Yojana – a scheme to extend financial assistance to rape, acid attack survivors and children subjected to sexual violence — taking the maximum compensation payable under the scheme to Rs10 lakh from Rs3 lakh.
The committee comprises two sitting HC judges, – Justice Mridula Bhatkar and Justice Girish Kulkarni — advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni and the principal secretary of the Woman and Child Development Department.
It has, however, limited the benefit of maximum compensation to rare cases like those in which survivors are left mentally challenged or permanently disabled. Besides, under the policy, gang-rape survivors, who have also suffered serious injuries, and people, who were dependent on an earning woman who died owing to sexual assault, will also be entitled to the Rs10-lakh compensation.
“All other survivors of such crimes will be entitled to get a maximum amount of Rs3 lakh and the exact amount of their entitlement would be determined by the State or District Legal Aid Services Authority,” read the draft submitted to the division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice MS Sonak on Wednesday. The bench is likely to approve the draft on Thursday.
Kumbhakoni told the bench that the financial assistance provided under the scheme is not linked to the outcome of the trial of the perpetrator of respective crimes. Even if the accused is acquitted by the court, the survivor will get financial assistance under the scheme, he told the bench.
There are, however, two exceptions. “In cases, where the trial court records a conclusive finding that the case was false and where the survivor deliberately refuses to support the prosecution case which results in acquittal of the accused person, the state will be entitled to recover the compensation paid to the victim,” he said.
The advocate general also said that under the revised Manodhairya scheme, the victim or any person on his / her behalf can apply for compensation or simply intimate the District Legal Services Authority about the incident, and a sum of Rs 30,000 will be disbursed as immediate aid within 7 days of intimation.
The draft mandates, the district authority to finally decide the application within 120 days of its receipt, allowing or rejecting the claim. If it allows the claim, 25% of the compensation (including initial 30,000) amount determined by the authority will be disbursed to the survivor immediately and balance 75% will be retained by the authority in the name of the survivor and may be invested by it. The draft states that the survivors will be allowed to apply for additional amount out of this balance 75%, provided documentary proof is furnished to justify the need for the additional sums.
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