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Is There A Policy Or Scheme For Children Born To Victims Of Rape? Bombay HC Asks State Government

The Bombay High Court today asked the state government whether there was a policy or scheme in place for children born to victims of rape.

The division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai also sought to know whether the state is contemplating an increase in the compensation to be provided under the Manodhairya Scheme.

Manodhairya Scheme was launched on October 2, 2013, it envisages compensation as well as rehabilitation of rape survivors and acid attack victims. Besides this scheme, the Maharashtra government had framed the Victim Compensation Scheme under Section 357 A of the CrPC which came into force in April 2014. Under the said scheme, the state government had decided to pay a maximum compensation of Rs.3 lakh to rape victims and other women who are victims of violence.

In the case of Laxmi v. Union of India, the apex court had held that state must ensure that free treatment is provided to victims of acid attack and a certificate can be issued by the concerned hospital. “This certificate may be utilized by the victim for treatment and reconstructive surgeries or any other scheme that the victim may be entitled to with the State Government or the Union Territory, as the case may be” said SC’s order.

On the basis of this judgement, in the case of Aarti Thakur v. State of Maharashtra, another bench of the Bombay High Court had directed the state to grant compensation to the victim retrospectively.

Today the Court was hearing petitions filed on behalf of rape victims who seek retrospective implementation of the said scheme. One of these victims is a 4 year old girl who was brutally sexually assaulted in 2012, she had to undergo third degree vaginal construction surgery and the other of a 15 year who was raped in 2013, forced to marry her rapist who later abandoned her. In both these cases, compensation is yet to be received.

The Principal Secretary of Women and Child Welfare Department has been directed to inform the Court whether the compensation can be increased to Rs.10 lakh as it is in Goa, he also been asked to remain present in Court during the next hearing on April 20.

While hearing a similar petition, on the occasion of Women’s Day Chief Justice Manjula Chellur had called the amount of Rs.2 lakh given to the petitioner’s daughter as “measly, shameful and a mere formality” and said-

“Today is Women’s Day, At least from this day onward, State must do something constructive for Victims”.

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