Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today asked Maharashtra government to come out with a scheme for giving compensation to boys who are victims of sexual assault, on the lines of an existing one for female victims.
Incidents of sexual assault on boys at remand homes in Maharashtra are on rise and there is a need to formulate a scheme for rehabilitation of the victims, the division bench headed by Justice V M Kanade said.
"Why no separate scheme for boys has been formulated?" said the judges, directing the state to inform them at the next hearing after two weeks what it has done in this regard.
'Manodhairya' scheme for women rape victims was launched in 2013 by the state with a provision of compensation.
The HC was hearing a suo motu (on its own) petition about a sexual assault case at Kavdas orphanage in Shahpur. The sessions court had convicted six persons, including the orphanage owner, of sexually assaulting and starving 18 minor mentally-challenged inmates, five of them girls.
Taking a suo motu cognisance of the case, the HC had ordered the government to inquire into the working of all the state-aided orphanages. As a result of the PIL, a state coordination committee for child protection was formed and Dr Asha Bajpai was appointed an 'amicus curiae' (friend of court). Bajpai also heads the five-member committee.
The government today submitted a report on compliance of July 3 order of the HC which had asked the state to rehabilitate the victims.
After reading the report, the bench asked the authorities to consider providing wheelchairs to handicapped inmates in remand homes and orphanages. The state need not invite tenders as the cost of such equipment is nominal, the HC suggested.
The bench also noted that compensation had not been paid yet to the victims of sexual assault at a Panvel orphanage and asked the government to take a quick decision.
The court also allowed a person hailing from Panvel to intervene in the matter after he stated that his 21-year-old son was mentally-challenged and there were 40 such boys in the district. The state should take steps to rehabilitate such persons, he said.
The bench asked him to write a letter to the amicus curiae and assured that the court would consider the plea at the next hearing.