The Supreme Court today fixed the responsibility on the Chandigarh administration for providing necessary care and assistance to a 10-year-old rape victim who had recently delivered a child after being denied abortion by the top court.
The apex court fixed the responsibility on Director, Department of Social Welfare of Chandigarh Administration, to provide necessary care and assistance to the victim.
"We make it clear that there will be no multiplicity of authorities and the responsibility vests with the Director, Department of Social Welfare, there should not be any hindrance or obstruction in providing the necessary care and assistance," a bench of Justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta said.
In a categorical order, it said that "the support person as well as the counsellor and liasion officer appointed by the Child Welfare Committee should be in regular communication with the Child Welfare Committee as well as the Director of the Department of Social Welfare and it is not as if they should perform their responsibilities only on the asking of the parents of the victim".
The apex court also took the status report filed by member secretary of Chandigarh State Legal Service Authority and noted that the victim as well as the new born baby are apparently being well looked after with the assistance of a support person as well as a counsellor and liasion officer appointed by the Child Welfare Committee.
After perusing the medical report of Government Medical College and Hospital in Chandigarh, the bench said it appeared that the new born baby and the victim are in a "stable condition" when the medical report was prepared on August 29.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising, who has been appointed amicus curiae (friend of court) to assist in the matter, said the support person appointed should be a qualified counsellor to assist the victim, who is still a child.
The bench directed Mahavir Singh, member-secretary of state legal service authority, to obtain necessary information about the expertise of the support person, counsellor and liasion officer appointed by the Child Welfare Committee.
"We expect full coordination between the support person as well as the counsellor and liasion officer appointed by the Child Welfare Committee and the Director of the Department of Social Welfare in respect of the care of the victim as well as the new born baby," the top court said.
The bench also directed the director of department of social welfare to attend to the educational needs of the victim in consultation with Mahavir Singh and posted the matter for further hearing on September 22.
On August 25, the parents of the victim had expressed their wish that they would like the new born baby to be adopted.
The court was informed that the concerned authorities had taken requisite steps to declare the child free for adoption. The apex court had directed the state legal service authority to release Rs 1 lakh for the victim and her new born baby so that the cost for special diet is taken care of.
It had said that under the Victim Compensation Scheme of the Chandigarh Administration, the victim was entitled for Rs 10 lakh and hence the remaining Rs 9 lakh should be kept as fixed deposit for the time being.
It had clarified that if the father of the victim required some more financial assistance, the State Legal Services Authority can make use of this amount from the fixed deposit and the interest incurred thereon.
The top court was earlier informed by Jaising that the authorities in Chandigarh were insisting that the compensation would be granted to the minor only after a charge sheet was filed in the case.
The apex court had on July 28 dismissed the plea seeking its nod for terminating the 32-week-old pregnancy of the rape survivor after taking note of a medical report that abortion was neither good for the girl, nor for the foetus. Section 3(2)(b) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act prohibits abortion of a foetus after 20 weeks of pregnancy. A PIL was filed after a Chandigarh district court on July18 had refused to let the girl undergo the abortion.