Allahabad HC orders 10 lakhs compensation to Minor Rape victim [Read Judgment]
Allahabad High Court, in a Petition filed by a minor rape Victim, requested the Government to frame suitable legislation in the matter of rehabilitation of rape victims. It also directed the state government to State Government make a fixed deposit of a sum of rupees ten lakhs in the name of Victim. A division bench of Justices Shabihul Hasnain and D. K. Upadhyaya also remarked “The question of rehabilitation of a rape victim can best be answered by the people and the masses and not by the courts alone. They should be accepted; not haunted by the society”.
A Writ petition was filed by a minor rape victim through her father, originally, praying that the Court may direct the opposite parties to terminate the pregnancy of the petitioner and also to direct them to conduct DNA test of the foetus for the purpose of evidence and the trial. It has been averred in the petition that an application was moved for termination of pregnancy medically by Chief Medical Officer of the District and was moved before the Juvenile Justice Board of the District with the prayer to accord necessary permission but was refused. During the pendency of this petition, a girl child was delivered on 26th October, 2015. A sum of Rs.3, 00,000/- was already released in favour of the victim by State Government.
The Court held that theree is a statutory right of compensation available to the petitioner and she may avail of the same. But the court said that such compensation may be too little and come too late in the life of a victim and thus be of no immediate use for her and the mechanism will take its own course'. Victim Compensation Scheme 2014' as well as 'Rani Laxmi Bai Mahila Samman Kosh Rules, 2015' are two systems where some monetary respite to the victim is available. We, however, feel that the question of Rehabilitation of the minor victim and her baby girl still remains to be answered satisfactorily.
The Court expressed curiosity with regard to the fact that, despite innumerable pronouncements of the Indian judiciary regarding rape, as well as scheme for compensation, why sufficient legislation has not come forward on the question of rehabilitation. “We, therefore, put on record our anxiety and request that the government may conduct or cause to be conducted a socio-psychological study based on appropriate survey on the number of rapes, number of children born out of rape, number of abandoned children, reactions of the victims, ways and means to counter the trauma of rape and the choice of the rape victims as to what are their expectations for rehabilitation and other related and ancillary issues.” , the court said
Court also noted that a valid legal system is available to allow the girl child to be given in adoption and it proposed to direct accordingly. The court asserted that the rights of inheritance in the property of a biological parent is a complex Personal Law right which is guided by either legislation or custom and it may not be possible to judicially lay down any norm or principle for inheritance by a minor who is born as a result of rape. “Such attempt by the Court would amount to legislation by judicial pronouncement and would operate as precedent in times to come. It would not therefore be desirable to venture into this field and accordingly we leave it open for the appropriate legislature to deal with this complex social issue “, the court said.
It was propounded by the court that certain social problems and issues have to be answered by the society itself. “It is for the society to decide as to how it wants to treat a rape victim. Rape is a crime beyond the control of a victim. This tragedy can strike any family. It is not something for which the victim has to be blamed. The whole society should come forward in defence and help of the poor traumatized victim of rape. The society will have to learn to manage their response towards a victim without forgetting that tragedy can befall on one's own head. When women are respected and promoted by the society as a whole only then a society can be called truly free and liberated. “
The court leaves the question of rehabilitation of the victim open to the masses whose love and affection can save two normal lives from becoming two negative characters of the. Society in future. They should be accepted; not haunted by the society. The Court said that it has played its role within the parameters of law and that it is now the turn of the seekers of justice from the courts i.e. people of India to see and show their response to the victims of their society.
The Court direct and allowed the Child Welfare Committee of District Lucknow to take over the cause of adoption of the child born to the victim. And as to the victim, the court stated that as soon as she regains her mental balance and equilibrium, she will be allowed admission in a proper class in an appropriate school. It was also stated that in addition to payment of Rs.3,00,000/- as compensation under Rani Lakshmi BaiMahilaSammanKosh Rules, 2015, the State Government shall make a fixed deposit of a sum of rupees ten lakhs in favour of the victim in any nationalized bank which will be given to her only when she reaches the age of 21 years.
Read the Judgment here.