Delhi HC Steps In To Ensure Immediate Legal Aid, Compensation To Minor Raped In School And Likes
Calls for protocol for synergy between cops and the DSLSA
Taking note of two newspaper reports relating to sexual assault of a 5-year-old girl inside her school, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the Delhi Police and the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) to arrive at a protocol for transmission of information of cases of sexual violence to the latter at the earliest so that victims can be provided immediate legal aid and compensation.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said so, when its attention was brought to the incident of sexual assault with the 5- year-old in east Delhi’s Gandhi Nagar and another report on how her father was forced to move her to Lok Nayak hospital on a motorbike.
The bench noted that there was no report yet on any intervention in the case by the DSLSA, even as it has time and again stressed on immediate legal aid and compensation to the victim of sexual offences.
“Given the nature of interventions which are required on emergency basis so far as the victims of sexual offence, both adults and children, are concerned, there can be nothing more important than information or report of such crime, being brought to the immediate attention of the DSLSA to enable it to take immediate steps for providing legal aid to the victim as well as compensation,” the bench said.
“The same, while ensuring justice to the victim, will ensure that the best assistance is available to the police for effectively investigating the crime as well. This would also enable compliance with the requirement of ensuring medical treatment and fair medical examination to the victims who would have the assistance of a legal aid lawyer,” it added.
The bench directed Member Secretary, DSLSA, and the Delhi Police to examine the matter and place before it a “protocol for ensuring immediate transmission of the information regarding a case involving sexual violence to the DSLSA and its agencies to enable its intervention at the earliest”.
Taking note of the fact that there may be a gap in release of compensation between the date of the crime and its disbursement to the victims, the bench directed as under:
(i) The DSLSA shall examine the matter in consultation with the Delhi Police and place a scheme/protocol before us for transmission of information about a crime involving sexual violence to the DSLSA and ensuring that necessary legal aid is provided to the victims at the very inception from the time the offence is revealed and remains available to the victim at every stage.
(ii) The DSLSA shall also ensure that compensation in accordance with the Victim Compensation Scheme, 2015, is henceforth released to the victims at the earliest. Needless to say that the DSLSA shall comply with the necessary procedure prescribed in the said scheme.
(iii) The DSLSA shall also inform this court about the status of the release of compensation to the victims in cases which are the subject matter of the newspaper reports and shall ensure that appropriate facilitation and legal aid is provided to the victims.
Besides providing legal aid, the DSLSA dispenses compensation under the Delhi Victim Compensation Scheme, 2015.
The bench said it is also the mandate of the legal services authorities under Article 39A of the Constitution of India and Section 12 of the National Legal Services Authority Act, 1987, to ensure legal aid to needy persons.