The Jharkhand High Court has ordered Rs. 10 lakhs compensation for a 'blind minor girl' who was subjected to gang-rape by her own family members, including brother and uncle. The Court has further directed the State Government to establish rehabilitation centre at the capital city of Ranchi to cater to the needs of victims of such heinous and brutal offences.
While issuing a slew of directions for rehabilitation of the victim, a Single Judge Bench of Justice Sanjay Kumar Dwivedi observed,
"The physical, mental, psychological trauma suffered by the "A" is formidable. Rape is a crime not only against a woman but against humanity at large as it brings out the most brutal, depraved and hideous aspects of human nature. It leaves a scar on the psyche of the victim and an adverse impact on society. In the case in hand, the agony experienced by the "A" has left a more visible impact as this "A" is 100% blind. Thus, this Court does feel that her welfare is, therefore, paramount consideration for this Court."
Considering the gravity and depravity of the offences involved, the Court chose to address the victim as "A", who is completely blind. "A" was subjected to gang rape in the year 2018. Subsequently, an FIR was lodged bearing under Sections 354/376D of the Indian Penal Code and Section 4/8 of the POCSO Act. The charge-sheet was submitted in the said case before the Court of the Additional Judicial Commissioner IV-cum- Special Judge (POCSO Act), Ranchi under Section 376(2)(f)/376(2)(i)/376(3) of the IPC and Section 4/6 of the POCSO Act against her own brother and uncle.
Seeing the nature of vulnerability of the victim, the Court had directed the Director, Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences ('RIMS') to constitute a Medical Board to examine the "A" and to find out whether pregnancy can be terminated. Pursuant thereto, the RIMS constituted a Medical Board, which submitted its report to the Court.
Court's Observations & Directions:
The Court considered the report of the Medical Board, which in clear terms conveyed that the termination of pregnancy is risky. Therefore, the Court decided not to put the life of "A" in danger by allowing medical termination of pregnancy. It observed,
"In the case in hand, it transpires that termination of pregnancy could have been risky to the life of the "A" as per the report of the Medical Board at RIMS, which was constituted as per the direction of this Court on 08.09.2022. This situation could have been avoided had the decision been taken at the appropriate time when the occurrence took place."
The Court further noted that the matter was brought by way of filing representation before the competent authority including the District Legal Service Authority, Ranchi. However, no compensation was paid to the victim. The Bench also pointed out that there are schemes of the Government to compensate such victims. A reference was made to the judgment delivered by the Apex Court in In Re: Assessment of the Criminal Justice System in Response to Sexual Offences, wherein the Court had observed,
"Section 357A(2) Cr.P.C. provides for award of compensation to the victims. The District Legal Service Authority or the State Legal Service Authority are bound to decide as to the quantum of compensation to the victim on the recommendation of the Court. By the order of this Court in W.P. (C) 565/2012 titled Nipun Saxena v. Union of India, the National Legal Services Authority, New Delhi had prepared a Compensation Scheme for Women Victims/Survivors of Sexual Assault/other Crimes – 2018. This scheme has been circulated among all states for necessary actions. The Scheme comprehensively provides for the rehabilitation and compensation for the victims of Rape."
Considering the unfortunate circumstances of the case and the settled legal positions relating thereto, the Court issued the following directions keeping in view the interest of the victim and the unborn child.
- The Deputy Commissioner, Ranchi shall ensure that arrangements are made to provide proper diet, medical supervision and medicines as may be necessary to the victim throughout the remaining part of her journey of pregnancy. When the time for delivery arrives, proper medical facilities be made available for a safe delivery of the child.
- The "A" shall be put in any proper rehabilitation centre of the Government of Jharkhand or being operated under the scheme of the Union of India.
- The State Legal Services Authority shall ensure that the State Government shall pay an amount of Rs.10,00,000/- (Rupees Ten Lakhs only) as compensation to the victim. This amount shall be over and above the compensation amount, if any, the learned trial court may direct to be paid to the victim and/or her child at conclusion of the trial in the underlying proceedings.
- The said amount shall be deposited in any nationalised bank in the name of "A".
- The Deputy Commissioner, Ranchi will ensure to open the bank account in the name of the victim in any nationalised bank, chosen by her father.
- As soon as the new born baby gains her mental balance and equilibrium, he/she will be allowed admission in a proper class in an appropriate school.
- Considering that there is no rehabilitation centre for such victim in Ranchi, this Court request the Chief Secretary of the Government of Jharkhand, Secretary, Department of Social Welfare, Women and Child Development, Government of Jharkhand and the Deputy Commissioner, Ranchi to take up this issue of creating such rehabilitation centre at Ranchi so that the rehabilitation centre in the capital city may help such victim in future. This Court hope and trust that the said officials of the State shall consider the request of this Court in its right perspective.
- The authority concerned shall also consider the disability pension so far the "A" is concerned, who is 100% blind.
Case Title: "A" v. State of Jharkhand & Ors.
Case No.: W.P.(Cr.) No. 421 of 2022
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Jha) 86
Judgment Dated: 14th September 2022
Coram: Sanjay Kumar Dwivedi, J.
Counsel for the Petitioner: Mr. Shailesh Poddar, Advocate
Counsel for the Respondents: Mr. Kishore Kumar Singh, S.C.-V & Mr. Vishnu Prabhakar Pathak A.C. to S.C.-V (for the State); Dr. Ashok Kumar Singh, Mr. Shivam Singh & Ms. Madhu Priya, Advocates (for RIMS)