SC Tells NALSA To Form Panel To Draft Model Rules For Victim Compensation In Sexual Offences, Acid Attack Cases [Read Order]
The Supreme Court has asked the National Legal Services Authority(NALSA) to set up a committee of about 4 or 5 persons who can prepare model rules for victim compensation for sexual offences and acid attacks.
The bench comprising Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta was hearing a PIL filed by Advocate Nipun Saxena.
After hearing Amicus Curiae Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, the bench held;
“The Chairperson or the nominee of the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women should be associated with the Committee,”
The court also asked the report of the committee be filed on or before December 31.
During the last hearing, the bench had observed that there is no integrated system with regard to disbursal, management and payment of compensation for victims of sexual assault. The court had asked the amicus and the Union of India to give their suggestion on how best to evolve an integrated and cohesive system of payment of compensation to victims of sexual assault and also steps to rehabilitate these victims or at least reduce or eliminate the trauma they have undergone.
“It appears to us that funds are being handed over to the States by the Union of India but there is no payment to the victims…. This is an unhappy state of affairs and the victims of apathy are only those who had already suffered sexual assault and nobody else,” the bench remarked.
Advocate Nipun Saxena had filed the PIL to introduce certain measures for the safety of women in public transport and public places, in December 2012, subsequent to the Nirbhaya gang-rape incident.
The PIL was clubbed with five related writ petitions seeking effective steps to be taken by the Centre and the states to take steps to curb sexual assault, with senior advocate Indira Jaising acting as the amicus curiae.
In January 2013, an RTI application was filed by Saxena before the National Legal Services Authority, the response to which revealed that though Section 357A of the Code of Criminal Procedure was inserted by an amendment to the Code in 2009 to enable the court to direct the state to pay compensation to the victim if the compensation under Section 357 was inadequate or where the case ended in acquittal or discharge and the victim was required to be rehabilitated, compensation was awarded and received by the victim/ dependants in only eight cases till February 2013.
This was after a lapse of over 4 years since the incorporation of the amendment in 2009. Furthermore, many states and union territories did not even have in place such a scheme for the victim’s compensation. An interim application was filed by Saxena in 2016, stating that during the course of time between the filing of the PIL and the interim applications, many states had taken steps to address the issues raised by the petitioner.
Read the Order Here