SC approves scheme to grant compensation to rape, acid attack victims

SC approves scheme to grant compensation to rape, acid attack victims
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New Delhi, May 11: Paving the way for grant of much needed financial support to poor victims of sexual assault and acid attack, the Supreme Court on Friday approved a scheme for mandatory grant of compensation to them under which a gangrape victim will be paid upto Rs 10 lakh.
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said the scheme would be enforced in all states and Union Territories and directed the Centre to forward it to all governments. The scheme has been prepared by National Legal Services Authority(NALSA) in consultation with Centre.
The monetary relief granted under the “Compensation Scheme for Women Victims/Survivors of Sexual Assault/other crimes” is not linked with the trial in such cases and the victim can approach the State or District Legal Services Authority for compensation immediately after the incident. The scheme empowers legal services authority to take suo motu cognizance of cases of sexual assault and acid attack to grant interim relief to victims.
Under the scheme, a compensation fund will be set up and it would be managed by State Legal Services Authority(SLSA). It also envisages setting up a portal for victims to apply for compensation online. The scheme sets out the minimum amount as relief for gang rape, rape and acid attack cases.
As per the scheme, a minimum Rs 5 lakh is to be paid in case of loss of life or gangrape of a victim and maximum has been fixed at Rs 10 lakh. A minimum amount of Rs 4 lakh is to be paid in case of rape or unnatural sexual assault. In case of victims of burning and acid attacks, the minimum compensation will be Rs 7 lakh for total disfigurement and Rs 5 lakh in case of 50% burns. It says that Rs 1 lakh shall be paid within 15 days to an acid attack victim and thereafter Rs 2 lakh within two months.
Alleging that the Centre was not releasing money under Nirbhaya Fund to states, senior advocate Indira Jaising pleaded the bench to direct the Centre to directly release fund in favour of SLSA which would grant the compensation to victims. “The Centre is sitting over Rs 3,500 crore Nirbhaya fund, and has so far released money only to nine states. Only 123 victims have been compensated from the fund so far. The court should direct the Centre to directly release the money to SLSA for timely reimbursement of compensation,” she contended.
Additional solicitor general Pinki Anand, however, refuted the allegation and informed the bench that Rs 960 crore from Nirbhaya fund had so far been disbursed.