The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that a scheme proposed by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) for compensating victims of sexual assault and acid attack should be modified to “some extent” to make it applicable to child victims of such assaults.
A bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said that slight modifications could be done in the ‘Compensation Scheme for Women Victims/Survivors of Sexual Assault/Other Crimes-2018’ to also include child victims.
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“The scheme can be implemented with slight modifications in case of children. Please have a look at it and give us a composite note for women as well as children,” the bench told senior advocate Indira Jaising, who is assisting the court as an amicus curiae in the matter.
One of the lawyers told the bench that the NALSA’s scheme should also focus on child victims of sexual assaults.
Jaising said the scheme has been approved by the top court and its purpose was to support women victims of sexual assaults and acid attacks throughout the trial in the case.
She also told the bench that states would have to understand the rationale behind this scheme.
Regarding the court’s observation to also include children of sexual assaults under the scheme, Jaising said she would file a note in this regard.
The bench, while saying that the Centre, all states and union territories should implement the scheme with letter and spirit, asked Jaising to file her note within two weeks.
Jaising said that she would address the aspect related to section 228-A of the IPC, which deals with disclosure of identity of victims of sexual offences.
The amicus had earlier told the bench that it was necessary for the apex court to clarify section 228-A of the IPC.
As per NALSA’s scheme, victim of gangrape in any part of the country would now get a minimum compensation of Rs 5 lakh and up to a maximum of Rs 10 lakh.
Similarly, in case of rape and unnatural sexual assault, the victim would get a minimum of Rs 4 lakh and maximum of Rs 7 lakh as compensation.
The scheme also says that victim of acid attacks, in case of disfigurement of face, would get a minimum compensation of Rs 7 lakh, while the upper limit would be Rs 8 lakh.
In acid attack cases, if the injury was more than 50 per cent, a minimum compensation of Rs 5 lakh would be given, while the maximum would be Rs 8 lakh.
Earlier, the Centre had told the apex court that it was finding it difficult to get the cooperation of states on the issue relating to disbursal of compensation to the victims of sexual assault under the Nirbhaya Fund.
Nirbhaya Fund was announced by the Centre in 2013 after the December 16, 2012 gangrape and murder case in Delhi to support the initiatives on women’s safety across the country.
Several petitions were filed in the Supreme Court after the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder incident in Delhi raising concerns over safety and security of women.
All the petitions were tagged by the court and several directions have been issued from time to time in this regard.